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Why the National Dope Testing Laboratory (New Delhi) has been suspended by WADA and what it means for Indian sport

Test Lab
Tuesday, 08 October 2019 By Aastha Kothari, Aahna Mehrotra

One important prong in the fight against doping that has been pioneered by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is the collection of athletes’ samples, the chain of custody and the accurate testing of the samples. For this to work, laboratories across the world must adhere to strict international standards that are designed to ensure that the testing process is undertaken with utmost care. Alongside the prohibited list, this forms a crucial aspect in the fight for clean sport to ensure that every participant on a level playing field.

Thus, the news of the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) in New Delhi, India being suspended for a period of six months, starting August 2019, due to non-conformities with the International Standard for Laboratories was disappointing to proponents of clean and fair sports.

This article provides an explanation of events and its potential impact on Indian sport. Specifically, it examines:

  1. The process of accreditation for a laboratory to be qualified to test samples of athletes (including the grounds for maintaining accreditation and for its suspension and revocation).

  2. The grounds on which the NDTL’s accreditation was suspended.

  3. Instances of suspension of other laboratories; the steps that may be implemented by a laboratory to have the suspension revoked; and the consequences of continued non-compliance leading to permanent revocation of accreditation.

  4. The potential impact of the NDTL’s suspension on the anti-doping regime in India.

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Written by

Aastha Kothari

Aastha Kothari

Counsel, AM Sports Law and Management Co.

Ms. Aastha Kothari is a counsel at AM Sports Law and Management Co. since May, 2018. She did her schooling from St. Xavier’s School, Jaipur and secured her bachelor’s degree in law from the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata in 2018.

During her years at law school, she did her internships at the Law Offices of Nandan Kamath, Bangalore, Star India Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, AZB & Partners, Mumbai and Surana & Surana International Attorneys, Chennai, thereby gaining experience in various fields like Sports Law, Media and Entertainment Laws and Policy, Intellectual Property Laws and Corporate Laws.

Her core areas of interest are Sports Law, Media and Entertainment Laws and Intellectual Property Laws. She has so far been involved in assisting in the setting up of various leagues. She regularly engages in transactional work and advises clients on various rules and regulations for conducting the leagues. Being a national level football player herself, Aastha has seen the difficulties faced by female athletes in a less popular sport in India. She wishes to make a difference by her contributions in the legal field and bringing in awareness and education about anti-doping in the lesser-privileged sections.

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Aahna Mehrotra

Aahna Mehrotra

Ms. Aahna Mehrotra is a Partner at TMT Law Practice. She was called to the Bar in May, 2011 and has gained considerable exposure through her experiences at different institutions worldwide.

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