Five Kabaddi players were banned by the Australian Sikh Games organizing committee from participating in next year’s Sikh Games after two players tested positive to the use of prohibited drugs, and three refused to take the test, Australian National Sikh Sports and Cultural Council (ANSSACC) said in a statement recently. The respective clubs of the players have also been fined.
ANSSACC along with Sydney organizing Committee conducted a random drug testing program during the 31st Australian Sikh Games held in Sydney on the Easter weekend. This is the third year the drug testing program has been conducted.
“Two players from the total 37 tested positive to the use of prohibited drugs that are outlined in the ANSSACC Drug Policy beyond acceptable levels. The players who tested positive were found to have levels beyond the acceptable levels for either or both Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)–Cannabis and Opioids,” ANSSACC spokesperson Mintu Brar said, as per SBS Punjabi.
Brar added that additionally, three players refused to participate in the drug testing process. Two of those players were selected randomly and one player was initiated by an opposition team after an objection was lodged, the report said.
The player’s refusal to participate in the test resulted in the cancellation of the finals game between Singh Sabha Sports Club Melbourne and Baba Deep Singh Club Woolgoolga on Apr.1.
The Australian Sikh Games are a representation of the Sikh community, held around Easter every year, to promote multiculturalism in Australia. The event attracts over one thousand athletes and up to 45,000 spectators over three days, as per the report.
According to Brar, the players who failed to comply with test will be banned for a period of 15 months. “This means they’ll miss next year’s Sikh Games. Their respective clubs will be fined and they’ll also be subjected to disciplinary demerit points,” Brar explained.
Brar also refuted claims that test samples were taken at the last moment, claimed by few teams such as Baba Deep Singh Club Woolgoolga Club who felt “targeted”. “In total 37 tests were conducted across the three days. A higher number of tests were conducted for Kabaddi due to past drug issues in this sport. All testing was performed by an independent company, Integrity Sampling.” he added.
Gurdial Singh Rai, President of Baba Deep Singh Club Woolgoolga said that they had the best players who could win the trophy, saying that they felt they have been targeted. “We strongly oppose the use of drugs in sports. We acknowledge that our players denied drug-testing, but only after the insult they felt in the in the open ground. If they want to test these international players they’d get it done through some NADA (The Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies) equivalent methodologies,” Rai was quoted as saying earlier by SBS Punjabi.