Continuing its drive to catch drug cheats following the athletics doping scandal, National Anti-Doping Agency on Saturday conducted its third raid in a week at a Sports Authority of India facility with a surprise early morning swoop down at the Bhopal Centre.
A NADA team, headed by Manpal Singh, began the raid at 8am, checked the rooms of the trainees at the Centre for banned substances and took random urine samples from them.
"NADA deputed a team of officers on Saturday, 16th July 2011, from Delhi and Bhopal headed by Mr Manpal Singh and included two technical officers of NADA and two lady Doping Control Officers to conduct surprise check in SAI Bhopal," NADA Director General Rahul Bhatnagar said in a statement.
"The team reached the SAI centre at 8:00 am and checked rooms of sportspersons for banned substances and also took urine sample on a random basis," the statement said.
"Twenty-five urine samples -- wushu (5 men, 5 women), boxing (5 women), judo (5 women), hockey (3 women), watersport (2 women) -- were also taken on a random basis and will be sent to National Dope Testing Laboratory for testing," Bhatnagar said.
The team checked 38 rooms (10 women and 28 men) of sportspersons at the hostels. Samples of food supplements and other medicines found in seven rooms were sealed and brought for testing.
NADA said it would continue its drive against doping in sports in the country and surprise checks will be carried out at other centers where athletes are training.
NADA teams conducted surprise raids at the National Institute of Sports at Patiala on July 9 and at the Bangalore SAI Centre two days later. On both occasions, the NADA team took samples from the trainees and brought medicines and food supplements for testing.
The country was hit by one of its worst doping scandals with eight track and field athletes, including Asian Games double gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji, returning positive for banned anabolic substances.
Ashwini's Commonwealth and Asian Games gold-winning relay team-mates Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose, other top quartermilers Jauna Murmu, Tiana Mary Thomas and Priyanka Panwar, long jumper Hari Krishnan Muralidharan and shot putter Sonia tested positive for anabolic steroids.
All of them returned positive in tests conducted by the NADA while Mandeep and Jauna also failed tests conducted by the IAAF.
Following the dope scandal, Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogrodnik, whose six wards were among the eight dope cheats, was sacked by the Sports Ministry which also constituted a one-man inquiry committee of Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal to probe into the scandal.
Six of the eight dope-tainted athletes now face a maximum two-year ban after their confirmatory 'B' samples also tested positive. Muralidharan and Sonia are yet to test their 'B' samples.