WADA mulling over introduction of hair sample test: Expert

New Delhi: Along with blood and urine
samples, athletes will soon have to provide a sample of their
hair for doping test as World Anti Doping Agency is
contemplating introducing hair test for ascertaining dope
level in participating sportspersons.

"WADA is pondering to introduce hair sample test too to
screen sportspersons for use of banned drugs. There is to
check the drug abuse for a particular drug -- Clenbuterol --
that is currently on its banned list," Dr Ashok Ahuja, former
head of the Sports Medicine faculty, National Institute of
Sports (NIS), Patiala, said.

"This drug is an excellent muscular strength booster. The
hair test can only tell that was the drug intentionally taken
or not," said the man who is credited with having tested
hundreds of dope-affected athletes said.

Talking about the drug, Ahuja said, "Clenbuterol steroid
is given by veterinary doctors to pregnant cows to give birth
to healthy calfs. It is also given to lambs and it is an
excellent growth enhancer for livestock.

"Traces of this drug can be found in humans who have
consumed meat from clenbuterol-fed animals. Since it is an
excellent muscle booster it is unfortunately being used by
sportspersons too.”

"So to know that whether this drug abuse case detected
with any sportsperson is because of intentional doping or
because this drug got absorbed in the body while consuming
meat of an animal fed with this banned drug, a hair test can
tell it all," he said.

Till now only blood and urine samples are collected by
anti-doping agencies to check for drug abuse by athletes.

Ahuja said that Clenbuterol steroid will not be
acceptable in any quantity by WADA.

Detailing about the hair test, he said, "It is a
specialised test. The concentration of this drug in the body
will determine whether the doping was intentional or not.

"This drug if found in muscle route then it will be
considered as deliberate doping and if found in the digestive
system the athlete is safe," he said.