Chandigarh: The doping controversy at the ongoing Kabaddi World Cup is growing wider with every passing day as four more players, including one Indian, on Thursday tested positive for banned substances, taking the list of offenders to a whopping 22.

"There is one player from India among four who have tested positive today. The sample of the Indian has tested positive for stanozolol," National Anti Doping Agency's (NADA) director general, Rahul Bhatnagar said.

He said two other players belonged to Australia and one from Canada tested positive.

On Wednesday, six players -- two each from UK, Norway and US -- had tested positive.

"We have taken immediate action and have suspended the players and restricted them from taking further part in the tournament," Organising Secretary of the event and former Indian hockey captain, Pargat Singh said.

Other players who have tested positive so far include those from Italy, Argentina, Spain and Germany.

All the 22 players have been suspended and barred from taking part in the competition till their names are cleared, Pargat said.

The tests are being conducted by NADA, who have dispatched three teams to the venues, to conduct random tests.

Before start of the tournament, a special five-member anti-doping committee had also been formed.

More than 100 samples have been taken already.

Asked if the growing number of dope offenders was bringing bad name to the sport and the country, Pargat said, "Look kabaddi as a sport is an unorganised sector. There is no world body which governs it. We have tried to promote this sport, which people love so much. Now if somebody has committed any wrong whether deliberately or out of ignorance, we have taken action.

"We are committed to ensure drug-free competition." Bhatnagar, however, said that "there can be no question of ignorance on the part of the players."

"This is rampant. Why you are not finding many Indians in the list is because all of them were well aware before the start of the tournament that samples will be taken and NADA can catch any player," he reasoned.

Bhatnagar said before the start of the tournament that they had written to the organisers to get dope-free certificate of players from their respective countries.

However, Pargat said they died not get enough time in hand to get the letters.

With Punjab going to polls early next year, ruling Shiromani Akali Dal has been portraying the tournament as an important event which will give boost to the traditional sport.

"My aim is to give international recognition to Punjab's traditional game, kabaddi. It has been partially achieved as 14 countries are participating in the second edition of World Cup and four countries are participating for women's World Cup," Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister and also the state's Sports Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal said recently.

(Agencies)