Doping A Never-ending Tale

“Doping should be treated the same as any other crime because it robs other athletes of their victories and their money”.

-Nicola Spirig, Swiss Triathlete

It is important to discuss the matter which has been dealt with in this article as every year thousands of athletes globally test positive for some forbidden substance. Doping is not only a threat to an individual's health but also to the potential of a nation as all the athletes who rely on such prohibited drugs jeopardize a bright career just because of the desire to surpass their body's limit without committing to the required hard work. Although this might provide quick results in a short time, these substances run the risk of side effects in the long run. Hence, these substances are earmarked as prohibited substances so that no talent is wasted, which will ultimately benefit the individual and the country in the long run and wholesome athletes will produce results based on their hard work and grit instead of the amount of chemical intake taken to condition the body extraordinarily. “Doping can make a difference even in technical sports. No drug can indeed make a poor tennis player into a good one. But between two excellent tennis players the less tired one is more likely to win a tense final set,” ‘Gilles Goetghebuer', editor-in-chief of the French magazine Sport and Vie. Legally, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) defines doping as “any method or substance that enhances performance, that damages health or is contrary to the values of the sport,” ‘Eduardo De Rose’, a WADA executive committee member. It is important to educate athletes from a young age to rely on hard work rather than on drugs. Also, they need to be educated about the drawbacks of using drugs to enhance bodily capacity and its long-term effect not only on an individual level but also on a national level. Doping needs to be attended to seriously and we need to look at the rationale employed by individuals who take such prohibited substances. Most of the time the pressure to swell one’s financials, cut-throat competition, media publicity, and also the last defaulter at play, human nature which is contrary to keeping calm, being patient, and working hard persistently. Today sports are not only limited to the field but it has become a business, a reason for political advantage and national pride which ultimately influence a person to break ethical protocol. Today sports events have become like the ancient game of gladiators played in Greece where the masters used to host sports for financial gains which they would raise from an enthralled audience. This is essentially the case today where people would only host a first-class sports event when they are assured that the event will mushroom their financials and this will only happen if the players thrill the audience enough to attract them and increase their viewership. Which would also eventually result in getting a significant amount of prize money. The role of WADA, the “World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)” was founded on 10th November 1999 and since 2004 it has annually updated its rules and related documents and standards. Various substances are being extensively researched, to find out if they can enhance one’s physical prowess. One such substance is paracetamol which is a very commonly used drug for day-to-day purposes. It has been observed that in the case of athletes and cyclists, their performance has improved as paracetamol lowers body temperature. Although some drugs are not banned for use although they increase the physical capacity of the athlete, as these are extracted naturally. For instance, the use of “arginine” improves physical performance, muscle mass, and also one's resistance in the state of high exertion." Hydroxycitric acid” is a chemical compound which is often found in food supplements and it is extracted from “Hibiscus sabdariffa or Garcinia cambogia”. Understanding the Prohibited List “WADA” publishes a list of substances and the method of using them, which is forbidden. A revised list is published with upgradation every year on the 1st of January. The substances are divided into various categories which are:

· Completely banned

· Prohibited to use for a certain time period before the competition.

· Also, methods such as blood transfusion or manipulation are prohibited at all times.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that not all drugs or methods are named in the banned list. Notwithstanding anything a substance or method can be deemed to be forbidden if it fulfills the following condition:

· If it is not authorized to be used by any governmental health administration

· If its chemical structure matches other forbidden drugs or effects similar to the forbidden drugs.

A new substance can be added to the list if it meets any two of the three given conditions:

· If it is likely to increase one’s abilities and sports performance.

· If it's the use of a drug or methodology which has the potential to cause health damage to the athlete.

· Its use would undermine the spirit of sports.

The athletes must know whether the substance and methods they are using find mention in the WADA prohibited list. The Challenges are according to the protocol, every nation requires an anti-doping agency that is not under any sort of influence and conducts timely testing of their athletes. However, this protocol is turned a blind eye towards by a majority of the countries. Moreover, there is a constant hindrance caused by the administration and by “national sporting federations'' due to which anti-doping tests are not conducted regularly. For example, in 2012, there was no testing done in Jamaica six months before the London Olympics at which Usain Bolt won three gold medals. In 1998, FIFA destroyed all the samples taken for testing after the World Cup, probably to avoid any future investigation of allegations of doping. These kinds of actions which can also be seen as attempts to do away with potential evidence are practiced probably because of the profits which the higher officials earn from doped athletes, such as sponsors, government, and even sports federations. Over time, it has been found in the statistical analysis report of ‘WADA’ that there is a gradual increase in the number of athletes caught for doping. These figures are alarming and something to be worried about because the purpose of ‘WADA” since its foundation in 1999 has been to catch these defaulters within its net, and also to take initiative to discourage athletes from doping. Government and international organizations need to monitor and make sure that the standard procedure which is established by ‘WADA’ is followed by athletes and the governments. Initiatives should be taken by the responsible authorities to educate the athletes about the damage which doping causes, again, not only on an individual level but also turning one's eye to dirt it throws at the image of the country at the global level. “Many champions are not gods, they are not even real champions,” says Yuliya. “That’s what disgusted me, the lies. These people are admired, but they’re just liars and cheats.”’

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