The Rowing Federation of India (RFI) have launched an investigation into the failed dope tests of 22 rowers, all of whom were under the age of 18.
They tested positive for probenecid, a drug used to treat gout but one which is classified as a masking agent banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The samples in question were collected in July last year during a training camp in Hyderabad, leading to RFI secretary MV Sriram saying the failed test could be part of a procedural lapse.
However, NADA director general Navin Agarwal rubbished the idea that the gap between collecting samples and testing had anything to do with the test results coming back positive.
“That (the 11-month gap) does not matter. It happened because soon after we collected the samples, the National Dope Testing Laboratory was suspended and we had to send the samples to a laboratory outside India,” Agarwal said.
“What is important is that 22 rowers have tested positive. The federation should introspect and find out what went wrong.”
Sriram further added that the failed test could be down to food supplements being contaminated, saying they would get to the bottom of the matter.
“It has to be the food supplements used which have resulted in 22 positive cases out of the 32 tested. We are also perplexed by the findings. All due procedures will be followed and we will find out what went wrong,” Sriram said.
The rowers will not get their B samples tested since that process will be carried out in Doha, where their urine samples were analysed.
A B sample test requires athletes have to be present during the process, something that will not be possible due to the international travel restrictions currently in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.