Doping refers to the use of drugs, treatment, and medications to promote athletic performance. It is a grave violation in the sports industry. According to experts, it involves avoiding to sample, possession of banned substances, the attempt to use them, and the tracking of prohibited elements.
Although it has been in existence for several centuries, it has received increased attention due to the high instances of drug abuse by athletes reports in the media. Additionally, there has been an increase in various performance-enhancing drugs in the market. Most of the people that engage in doping are anxious to win competitions and gain an advantage over their competitors.
According to The World Anti-Doping Code established in 2008 by the doping agency, a treatment or substance is regarded as doping if it meets various criteria. These include the following:
• If it violates the spirit of sports.
• If it enhances performance.
• Present a risk to the health of athletes.
The code also consists of prohibited substances that are published every year. Sportspersons should not use all materials that are on the list. If an athlete violates it, they receive various penalties.
2. Which substances are considered doping?
All prohibited substances include the following:
• Non-approved substances
• Anabolic agents.
• Beta-2 agonists.
• Hormone and metabolic modulators like HGH.
• Peptide hormones, growth factors, and mimetic.
• Diuretics and masking agents.
Prohibited substances in the competition include:
Prohibited in sports:
There are bans on some substances such as beta-blockers and HGH in competitions of various sports such as golf, shooting, skiing, and archery.
Taking substances like HGH that enhance growth hormones is also considered illegal, especially in individuals engaging in sports.
3. How is it detected?
Biological passport program: Experts extract the blood sample of an athlete during the biological passport program. Here changes in blood components are evaluated to assess if it has banned substances.
Blood and Urine Samples:
Athletes should submit a sample of their blood and urine from the laboratory for evaluation.
4. Myths about doping in sports:
Myth 1 - Using Testosterone is forbidden in sports:
Although using the male hormone may not seem harmful, it has a prohibition in sports, and it is under anabolic agents in the list of banned substances. Testosterone is a hormone from the sex organs of men and is often used as a performance-enhancing drug by athletes due to its effects on muscle mass, strength, and appearance. Nevertheless it can be used in deficient people, which are tested and usually get prescribed with injections such as Testosterone Enanthate.
Myth 2-Best results are impossible to achieve without doping.
People who participate in sports believe that doping is critical to their sports excellence which is a fact as it gives them stamina and strength that will not be possible without doping.
Those who have received injuries engage in doping so that they can quickly return to compete. They know that they cannot engage in sports if they have wounds, and the banned substances help them compete even with the injuries.
Myth 3- Doping is safe for your health.
Depending on the sport that you engage in, doping can be beneficial. Most people benefit in these ways; decrease fat tissue, empower body recovery capacity, increase endurance, and boosts muscle mass.
Myth 4-Forbidden substances are hard to detect.
The majority of endurance sportsmen and women such as skiers, distance runners, and cyclists manipulate their blood components as a performance and enhancement mechanism that is hard to detect. The purpose of doing this is to increase the number of red blood cells in it. By increasing the count, they increase their aerobic power and overall performance.
Some sportspersons turn to growth hormones and HGH to stimulate growth, decrease body fat and increase skeletal muscle. They also use it for performance enhancement. The growth hormone binds its receptors on cells, activates cellular signaling pathways, and causes metabolism changes. It is hard to detect their consumption since it exists in many diverse forms like HGH. It also exists in cells of individuals that are not doping. Therefore, it is hard to detect.
Most shocking doping stories.
The earliest known performance-enhancing drug was known as Elixir of life. Charles-Edouard Brown Sequard produced it. Jim Gavin is known to be the first person to take the drug in 1889. He won the game that proved that it enhanced winning. Elixir of life manufacturers used Testosterone from dogs, sheep, rabbits, and several other animals.
Doping is a criminal offense in sports, and any individual who tests positive for a banned substance receives a suspension from contests. If the authority catches them twice, they receive a lifetime ban that can affect their careers. Some of the high-profile sports personalities who have received doping bans include Tim Montogomery, Ben Johnson, and Marion Jones.
Governments that sponsor doping programs in their countries also receive a disqualification from that sport. Following allegations by Russia in 2016, IAAF suspended its athletes from the Olympic competition.
Systematic doping in Russia has caused its sports personalities to receive bans from 47 Olympics and ten world championship medals. It is among the countries with the most doping cases.
Doping is a big deal as these substances are harmful to the body and have long-lasting effects that include:
a) Cardiovascular: Elevated blood pressure, heart attack, irregular heart rhythm, and sudden death.
b) Respiratory: Nose bleeds and sinuses.
c) Central Nervous System: Aggressive behavior, insomnia, suicide, anxiousness, stroke, and dizziness.
d) Hormonal: Decreased testicular size, infertility, low sex drive, and gynecomastia.
Doping also contributes to moral dilemmas as individuals evaluate whether it is okay for them to gain an unfair advantage which devalues their spirit of competition. WADA highlights that its mission is to protect athletes and promote fairness and equality among athletes. The body will continue to offer penalties to sports personalities that contravene their purpose.