The World Anti-Doping Agency has restored the accreditation of India’s National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), which was suspended in 2019 because of its failure to meet global standards.
"National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) regains the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accreditation," Sports Minister Anurag Thakur posted on his official Twitter page on Thursday.
"Restoration of accreditation is a boost to India's efforts to achieve the highest global standards of excellence in sport. This is the result of untiring efforts by GOI (Government of India)," he added.
India is currently third in the WADA's global list of dope violators, led by Russia.
The suspension prohibited the Delhi-based NDTL from carrying out anti-doping activities, including all analysis of urine and blood samples.
The WADA first suspended NDTL in August 2019 for six months and extended the de-recognition period after its inspections showed that non-conformities still existed.
The laboratory's non-conformities pertained to the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) identified during a WADA site visit, including the isotope ratio mass spectrometry — the analytical technique of choice for confirmation of prohibited substances.
During the suspension period, urine samples collected by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) were being sent primarily to the WADA-accredited lab in Doha.
The process had made the anti-doping programme very expensive for the country because of the significant cost involved in sending samples abroad. The COVID-19 pandemic also contributed in slowing down the anti-doping activities in India with NADA admitting to have collected a lesser volume of samples.
After outstanding non-conformities were not addressed to WADA's satisfaction, its Laboratory Expert Group (LabEG) recommended the initiation of further disciplinary proceedings against NDTL in January this year.
The disciplinary committee that was mandated to make a recommendation to the WADA chair then asked for an extension in suspension.
Because of the suspension, NDTL could not carry out any testing before Tokyo Olympics this year.
"Sending of samples for analysis to Qatar lab involves cost and also delays the result management process," lawyer Parth Goswami, who regularly handles doping related cases, had said earlier this year.