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From Shooting to Chess - doping is everywhere

October 26th, 2007 by Louise Mousten Vestergaard · 1 Comment

Doping is efficient. That is why it is used in all sports from cycling and rowing to mentel sports like chess and bridge.

By Dorthe Bregendal and Louise Mousten Vestergaard

When the word doping is mentioned, it is often regarded to cycling, and especially Tour de France. It is a fact though, that doping is found in most sports. According to
the 2006 report from the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, there are very few sports, where no athletes at all are tested positive of using prohibited medicaments. The numbers from WADA show, that about one to two percent of athletes in all sports have taken forbidden medicaments. but the numbers are probably higher.

“The two percent are presumably misrepresent. Journalistic investigations during the years have indicated that more athletes use doping, and many athletes that have stopped their careers have told afterwards, that they have witnessed an extensive use of doping among their collegues,” says Ask Vest Christiansen, PhD, Lecturer, Department of Sport Science, university of Aarhus, Denmark.

He estimates that one of the reasons why WADAs numbers may not be representative is that doping tests are expensive and complicated. There are about 300 prohibited medicaments, but when the tests are made, they only test for a certain number of these drugs. A test might for example test football players for anabolic steroids, but when the result is negative it doesn’t mean, that they haven’t used EPO for example.

Doping is medicine that has a performance enhancing effect in sport. Not all drugs are effective in all sport, but it is possible to find a drug that can enhance performance in almost any sport. Even in sports like shooting, chess and badminton, where you might think, that doping hasn’t got an effect, it could be used.

“You don’t necessarily see more goals in a football match, if the players have used for example EPO, but the players may increase their stamina,” says Ask Vest Christiansen.

Different types of medicaments are used in different sports. In sports where endurance is important, like in cycling or triathlon, use of blood stimulating medicaments is common. And in sports like weightlifting where strength and power is needed, use of anabolic steroids is often seen. But what good does doping do in sports like chess, shooting or air sports?

“In chess or poker for instance, where the matches continues for hours, the players can drink coffee to clear the brain, or they can take pills with amphetamine or caffeine,” Ask Vest Christiansen points out.

The realisation that doping is found in almost every tested sport has led to that the president of WADA Dick Pound recently submitted that also golf players need to be tested in the future.

“Key players and officials are telling me we need a policy in plays before we have a major public problem” says Dick Pound to BBC.

Tags: Theme: Anti-doping

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