Sporting minnows India has been ranked third for the third year in a row in a doping violation report published by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for 2015 with 117 athletes from the country being punished after testing positive for banned substances.

India followed Russian Federation (176) and Italy (129) at third spot in the doping violation chart released by the WADA, the same position as in the reports of 2013 and 2014. All the dope violations by the Indians came from urine samples.

The dope violations were committed during 2015 and the WADA chart was prepared after compiling information of analytical findings and sanctions rendered till January 31 this year by various accredited anti-doping bodies.

This is the first set of Anti-Doping Rule Violation statistics under the revised WADA Code and third such report in its history since 2013.

The worrying sign for India is that the number of dope offenders has been increasing in the last three years. India had 91 and 96 Anti-doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

An ADRV is a doping offence committed by an athlete or athlete support person, which results in certain consequences or sanctions. It is derived from adverse analytical findings (AAFs), commonly known as ‘positive’ results.

Of the 117 Indian dope offenders of 2015, two are non-analytical ADRVs, which refer to cases that do not involve detection of a prohibited substance by a WADA-accredited laboratory but instances like failure to submit to a test, possession, use or trafficking of a prohibited substance by athletes and support personnel.

Out of the 115 analytical ADRVs, 78 are committed by male athletes while 37 are by female.

Among individual sports, weightlifting has taken over athletics as the dirtiest with a whopping 56 Indian lifters (32 male and 24 female) punished for doping.

Athletics contributed the second highest number of dope offenders with (14 men and 7 womens), followed by boxing (8), wrestling (8), cycling (4), kabaddi (4), aquatics (3), powerlifting (3), judo (2), wushu (2), rowing, bodybuilding (1), hockey (1), football (1) and street and ball hockey (1).

Among the NADOs, India’s National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) recorded 109 ADRVs, the second highest behind Russia’s (127).

The NADA took 5162 samples during 2015 out of which 110 tested positive for banned substances (AAFs = Adverse Analytical Findings). But there was no sanction in one case.

A total of 229,412 samples were received and analysed in 2015 by WADA-accredited laboratories worldwide. Out of these, 2,522 samples were reported as AAFs.

There were a total of 1,929 ADRVs (1,901 from athletes and 28 from athlete support personnel) out of which 1,649 are analytical findings and 280 from ‘evidence-based intelligence’ non-analytical findings.

Out of 1649 are Analytical ADRVs, 1304 cases (79 per cent) were of male and 345 female (21 per cent); 390 (24 per cent) were from out-of-competition tests and 1259 in-competition (76 per cent); 1644 urine and five blood.

The dope offenders belong to 80 sports/disciplines and 121 nationalities.

Among sports disciplines worldwide, bodybuilding overtook athletics in contributing the highest number of dope cheats with 270 such cases. Athletics is second at 242, followed by weightlifting (239), cycling (200), powerlifting (110), football (108), rugby union (80), boxing (66), wrestling (57) and basketball (39).

Just like the increase in the number of Indian dope offenders, the worldwide figure also showed an upward trend and the WADA said it was in line with the anti-doping movement’s increased focus on investigations, intelligence gathering and whistleblowing. “The 2015 ADRVs Report makes for particularly interesting reading in combination with WADA’s 2015 Testing Figures Report that was published last November,” said WADA President Sir Craig Reedie.

“What is particularly striking about this 2015 ADRVs Report is: we are beginning to see the first signs of the impact of the revised Code, in particular a significant increase in intelligence-based anti-doping rule violations, an area of greater focus for the Agency as we strengthen our investigations and intelligence-gathering capacity.

“Whilst testing remains vital to detecting doping, recent events have shown that investigative work is becoming even more important as we look to protect clean athletes’ rights worldwide,” Reedie said.