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Archive for  December 2015

Thursday 10, Dec 2015

Steroid Abuse Off-The-Scale In Grassroots’ Welsh Rugby

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Figures disclosed by UK Anti-Doping have revealed that abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids is “off-the-scale” in Welsh grassroots and semi-professional rugby.

It was further disclosed that players from Wales make up 33 percent of all sportsmen and women who are serving doping bans. About 17 Welsh rugby union and league players, from grassroots to semi-professionals are presently banned with a majority of them testing positive for traces of anabolic steroids in their systems. Ten of these players are from rugby union and form the majority of the 16 players banned from the sport across the United Kingdom. According to a revelation by UK Anti-Doping, the other seven are among 14 players banned from rugby league.

An ex-player, who admitted to using drugs, said he is surprised to learn that many have not been banned. Speaking to BBC Wales’ Week In Week Out program, the unnamed player said steroid abuse is totally off-the-scale. The player also remarked he thinks people are probably blind to it and if the truth came out he thinks there would be probably a lot more players who are banned from playing.

The BBC Wales’ Week In Week Out program questioned 100 players from grassroots rugby union clubs and came to the conclusion that 15 players admitted to using some form of performance enhancing drug. Only 5 of the 100 interviewed players said they had been tested for drugs in the past three years.

A few days back, Rugby Club player Owen Morgan and Glynneath RFC’s Greg Roberts were banned for four years and two years respectively. Morgan tested positive for the anabolic steroid Drostanolone and the stimulant Benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine and Roberts tested positive for Tamoxifen.

Anti-doping expert Prof Yannis Pitsiladis, from the University of Brighton, remarked players can be quite confident when they go into testing that they won’t be caught because the current testing will not be able to detect those drugs, because they are no longer in the system. However, Pitsiladis added anti-doping technology improvements and the ability to now keep samples for a period of up to 10 years means athletes who are presently cheating may be caught in the future.

However, Welsh Rugby Union chief Martyn Phillips remarked he is not overly concerned as the number tested is proportionately higher than in other rugby unions and sports. Phillips added doping has become a problem in society to start with and remarked he would not sit here and say that it is not an issue in rugby because the fact that one player getting banned is one too many as far as he is concerned.

Chris Thair, chief operating officer of Wales Rugby League, termed the figures as a “wake-up call” and said it is not just a rugby issue but a huge global issue for all sports.

UK Anti-Doping’s chief executive Nicole Sapstead admitted that staying ahead of drug cheats is a constant battle. Sapstead said she thinks people who want to cheat the system would find a way and also commented that we would be testing all sports all the time in an ideal world but that is not a reality for any anti-doping organization in the world.

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Tuesday 08, Dec 2015

Federer Frustrated By Anti-Doping Program Of Tennis

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Roger Federer, the Swiss professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 3 by the Association of Tennis Professionals, has remarked at the ATP World Tour Finals in London that he is always surprised to find the anti-doping guy missing when he talks off the court after winning a tournament.

Federer added he believes tennis player should undergo more anti-doping tests so that the sport does not suffer with the same problems that have plagued sports like cycling and athletics. The 17-times grand slam champion also called for more out-of-competition tests.

Speaking at a news conference at London’s O2 Arena, Federer said he thinks the world governing body of tennis is trying its best but there are some things that still need to be taken care of. The tennis star also commented that you should know that you will be tested whenever you make the quarter-finals of a tournament, when the points are greater, and the money is greater. The Swiss tennis player also said he is even happy to keep the tests for longer as that is the way to scare people.

Federer broadly endorsed the comments of fellow tennis star Andy Murray. World No 1 Novak Djokovic said he had received ‘three or four’ visits at home from anti-doping officials this year. Djokovic added he however feels the daily whereabouts rule of giving location for one hour every day could prove to be excessive at times but added the current system was doing its job.

Federer expressed confidence in the Swiss anti-doping model but remarked out-of-competition testing was still not frequent enough. Considered by many players and commentators as the greatest tennis player of all time, Federer said he feels like the Swiss program is tough and strict but out-of-competition testing could definitely increase as well.

The world No. 3 said he still thinks that should happen more on a frequent basis and added he is sure that the Swiss anti-doping agency does things how it should be done, so you can try to imagine how others do it. The Swiss professional tennis player also remarked he has been tested out of competition about five times this year and added there needs to be more resources. Federer also said players need to feel that there are going to be tests so they will shy away from any silly thought they might have.

Federer turned professional in 1998 and held the world No. 1 position for 302 weeks that included 237 consecutive weeks. The Swiss star won 17 Grand Slam singles titles and reached the Wimbledon final ten times and each Grand Slam final at least five times (an all-time record). The Swiss tennis star has won the most matches in Grand Slams (297) and reached a record 36th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal. Federer also won the Olympic gold medal with his compatriot Stan Wawrinka in doubles at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and conquered the Olympic silver medal in singles at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The tennis player was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for a record four consecutive years (2005–2008).

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Sunday 06, Dec 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015 Anti-Doping Results Confirmed By World Rugby

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Results of the anti-doping testing and education program that was undertaken during Rugby World Cup 2015 in partnership with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) have been announced by World Rugby.

For the Rugby World Cup, UK Anti-Doping was the official sample collection organization and a total of 468 samples were taken across all 20 participating teams. In an intelligence-led and targeted program, 200 in-competition samples were collected and 268 samples were collected out-of-competition. World Rugby has taken the decision to store some samples for future re-analysis and the tests included a mix of urine (317 samples collected) and blood (151).

No adverse analytical findings have been recorded till date. All samples undertaken at the Rugby World Cup 2015 were analyzed at the WADA-accredited laboratory at the Drug Control Centre, King’s College, London.

World Rugby introduced an Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program in 2013 and World Rugby increased its targeted testing and education budget by nearly 30 percent in 2015. England 2015 was the first Rugby World Cup to include the (ABP) program.

UKAD Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead said UK Anti-Doping was delighted to be part of such a prestigious event and provide an expert service to World Rugby and organizers of Rugby World Cup 2015. Sapstead added that ensuring that there is a robust and rigorous testing program at a major event is an essential part to protecting the integrity of any sporting competition, and World Rugby worked hard to ensure that such a comprehensive anti-doping program was in place. The UKAD Chief Executive also commented that World Rugby should be congratulated on their successful Keep Rugby Clean campaign. Anti-doping education is a vital tool in protecting clean sport and it is a key tool in preventing doping as it helps players to make the right choices so they do not risk their careers or their health.

World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset commented that our Rugby World Cup 2015 program was based on intelligence-led testing and reflects our commitment to ensure that we are ahead of the curve in this area. Lapasset added while there were no adverse findings before, or during, Rugby World Cup 2015 that doesn’t mean we can become complacent as to the risks and that is why we have increased our budget in this important area and committed to storing samples for potential further analysis.

The chairman of World Rugby also said doping is a major threat to the integrity of sport and World Rugby is committed to a prevention program of targeted testing and global education to ensure that players at all levels understand the performance and health importance of maintaining a level playing field for all. Lapasset also said Rugby World Cup 2015 as our showcase tournament provided a global platform to reach, engage and educate the global rugby family at all levels as well as wider society. He also remarked we must collectively continue to drive the education agenda and protect clean players and added he would like to thank everyone who took part and supported this important program.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Rugby World Cup 2015 Anti-Doping Results Confirmed By World Rugby

Friday 04, Dec 2015

Tygart To Join USA Swimming For Meeting With FINA

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USA Swimming has decided to team up with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart. The man who brought down Lance Armstrong will join former USA Swimming president Jim Wood for a meeting next month with FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu in Lausanne, Switzerland. This meeting will be held to check in on anti-doping actions of swimming’s governing body.

The concern lies with the way doping cases of Australia’s Kylie Palmer, China’s Sun Yang, and Russia’s Yuliya Efimova were handled.

Palmer, a member of the Australian 4×200-meter freestyle relay team that conquered won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, tested positive for low levels of a banned masking agent at the 2013 worlds in Barcelona. However, she was not informed of the failed test until earlier this year. The Aussie swimmer denied taking any performance enhancing drug but accepted a provisional suspension that ruled her out of the Kazan World Championships. Thereafter, anti-doping tribunal of FINA issued only a reprimand and warning to Palmer and allowed her to resume her bid to compete in Rio Olympics.

A doping suspension of three months was imposed on Sun, the gold medalist in the 400- and 1,500-meter freestyle at the London Olympics, for using a banned stimulant. The suspension of Sun started immediately after he failed the drugs tests in May 2014 but news of his suspension was kept quiet by Chinese officials for six months and the world governing body of swimming waited until late November to announce the sanction. The Chinese swimmer was thereafter named male swimmer of the meet at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, in August.

In March, Yuliya Efimova made a return from a doping ban of 16 months after she tested positive for DHEA, the banned stimulant. The Los Angeles-based swimmer claimed she ingested the steroid in a nutritional supplement. Efimova added her English was poor enough and she did not notice that DHEA was written on the package of the supplement. The swimming’s governing body accepted that the swimmer was not intending to improve performance and FINA decided not to give Yuliya the standard doping ban of two years that would have ruled her out of her home worlds.

USA Swimming is keen to ensure that the likes of Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps compete against only clean athletes at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus said this is an effort to see if we can understand what’s going on and maybe why certain decisions were made the way they were. Wielgus added USA Swimming has been extremely supportive of FINA’s leadership and also remarked the FINA executive director was very quick to agree to a meeting so we were very pleased by that and we saw that as a very positive response.

Wielgus added we want clean competition and ensure that the water is clean for open water swimmers. He however added that quality of water will not be discussed in the meeting with the FINA executive director.

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Wednesday 02, Dec 2015

Roadmap To Reform Anti-Doping Agency Agreed Between WADA And Russia

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Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has stated that Russia and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have come to an agreement on steps to reform the scandal-ridden anti-doping agency of the country.

Mutko remarked it is very much clear what we have to do and we have agreed on a roadmap. This announcement by the sports minister of Russia came a few days after he met with WADA head David Howman in Frankfurt for talks regarding ways to revamp RUSADA, the Russian anti-doping agency that was found by WADA to be non-compliant with international anti-doping standards. In a statement published by the Russian sports ministry following talks with Mutko, WADA head David Howman said the World Anti-Doping Agency is pleased to note the assurances made by sports minister Vitaly Mutko about the support and readiness to implement the recommendations presented in the report by the WADA independent commission.

On November 13, Mutko revealed that the IAAF has hidden 155 test results since 2008 and only 15 Russian athletes have been involved in those cases. The Russian sports minister also added doping drugs are not being produced in the country but smuggled by certain “mafia circles” into the country. Mutko also said up to 160 sportsmen and women are banned from competition in Russia every year and went on to add that some might call it efficient work, while others could say the number is too big. Mutko went on to add that the country has created the largest number of biological passports for its athletes and allegations that the country has destroyed some tests are false.

A few days back, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told journalists that work of the anti-doping laboratory of Russia is based on the WADA model and no manipulations with doping tests are possible. Mutko also said Russia is open to consider any additional standards that may be necessary. Mutko also added that any wrongdoers will be punished and also remarked that Moscow has invested over 1.5 billion rubles (US$22.5 million) into the anti-doping laboratory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had already instructed Mutko to hold his own investigation into the doping scandal. Putin told Mutko to cooperate fully with international anti-doping organizations. The Russian President said innocent people should not be held responsible for actions of others and those guilty of doping use should be punished.

Last month, Russia was suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). This was after an explosive report by a WADA independent commission that found evidence of large-scale corruption and state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics. The report accused Russia of “routinely” allowing athletes banned for doping despite having been suspended from competition and violating international testing standards. The country also lost the rights to stage the World Junior Championship in Kazan and the World Race-Walking Championship in Cheboksary next year. Russia is also suspended for the World Indoor Championships in March.

Russia became the first country to be banned from international competition after officials voted 22-1 in favor of the provisional sanction.

Since then, Russia has vowed to retrieve membership of the IAAF in time for its track and field athletes to compete Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games next year.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Roadmap To Reform Anti-Doping Agency Agreed Between WADA And Russia

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