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Thursday 18, Feb 2016

  Sean Cavanagh Fears Banned Drugs ‘A Fact Of Life’ In GAA

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Tyrone star Sean Cavanagh has remarked he fears players may be taking illicit performance-enhancing substances without even being aware of it.

The 33-year-old backed decision of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to introduce blood testing of players this year. However, Cavanagh warned of a culture of leaning on shakes and supplements that may result in some taking a dangerous route. Cavanagh said nowadays there are too many proteins and branched-chain amino acids and he does not even understand half the stuff the boys are taking to be honest.

The five-time All Star-winning Tyrone Gaelic footballer remarked he would say there is probably a reasonable chance that some guys are may be on performance enhancing drugs. Cavanagh, who has captained Ireland in the International Rules Series, remarked he is not all that into it and he is still stuck in the Tracker bar and Jaffa Cake era. Cavanagh went on to add that some guys are hugely into it nowadays and so he would say probably is a chance, whether purposely or not, that there probably are guys that are playing that have something in the system that should not be there.

The Tyrone Gaelic footballer also said he believes there is that much available in terms of supplements and a lot of guys just aren’t educated enough to know what they can and can’t take. Cavanagh added there are that many things on the internet that are saying ‘batch tested’ and what not but it is a complete minefield at the moment.

Cavanagh also said he believes some players are “taking the chance” as far as doping is concerned and said he has been tested 10 to 15 times throughout his career.

In December last year, it was confirmed by the Gaelic Athletic Association that blood and urine testing for players will be introduced for the first time as part of the 2016 Anti-Doping program rolled out by Sport Ireland. It was remarked by Ger Ryan, the Chairman of the Medical Scientific and Welfare Committee (MSW), that blood-testing has been a fact of life for many athletes in the largest sports of Ireland for a number of years and it was inevitable that it would eventually be introduced to Gaelic games.

Ryan added the GAA has worked closely with Sport Ireland on this and the program that will be rolled out – while meeting with Sport Ireland’s requirements in this regard – has been designed taking careful consideration of the unique circumstances of our amateur players, their support personnel and our team and training structures. The MSW Chairman said the GAA had formulated a new four year Anti-Doping Education Strategy for all levels of the Association to complement its existing initiatives, and that the main focus of this in 2016 would be on senior inter-county panels and support personnel.

In 2015, 95 GAA players were tested as part of the anti-doping program. It was also recommended by the MSW that a concussion sub should not be introduced during games.

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Monday 24, Jun 2013

  Tennis Is Behind In Anti-Doping, Says USADA Report

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Tennis Is Behind In Anti-Doping, Says USADA Report

The USADA report on testing numbers by sport in 2013 has revealed that whole track and field conducted 496 tests (392 out of competition, 104 in competition) while tennis only had 19 (all out of competition). The report also disclosed that out of all the sports that the USDA listed, tennis comprised just 19 of the 1,919 tests, while curling had 35 tests and the luge 25.

Don Catlin, president and chief executive officer of Anti-Doping Research, remarked if you’re only taking two steps when 100 are needed, it’s not going to work and also added that if you started with the top 100 male players, that would be a good representation and then if you test them five times a year but [tennis] probably doesn’t want to and if you don’t start with something of that magnitude, you’re not going to get far. Catlin, who ran the respected UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, in March 2013 issued a damning indictment of the sport’s attempts to step up its drug-testing program and questioned whether it has the money or the desire to make it work. He remarked the theory (of the passport) is you get the right person at the right times and test them four to five times and then they’ll move toward a mean (in their levels) and then if they depart from that mean in the future you can nab them.

These revelations may not appease tennis authorities after the International Tennis Federation’s anti-doping program budget in March this year was given a boost by the Grand Slams and the two tours, going from about $2 million annually to $3.6 million, to allow for more testing. The funding partners in the program, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Association of Tennis Professionals, Women’s Tennis Association, and four grand slam events, agreed to increase their contributions, lifting the overall budget to an estimated $3.5m. This year, the ITF will be introducing biological passports for players wherein test results would be collated over a period of time to assist anti-doping authorities to track any changes, which may indicate doping. But the proposed anti-doping measure has not gone well with Catlin, one of the world’s most eminent anti-doping experts, who said tennis is wasting its time adopting a biological passport program and added tennis is better off to increase the number of tests they do rather than spend it all on the passport as doubling or tripling urine tests would be of more value than starting a passport because you need such a long lead-in and you need data over four or five years.

Meanwhile, the ITF has defended its stance and policies and remarked the Anti-Doping Working Group has identified the introduction of biological passports as a key enhancement of the detection and deterrence of doping under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program, said program chief Dr. Stuart Miller and added the implementation of the passport in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency recommendations, including the required budget, is now being discussed by the four parties in the program.

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Wednesday 21, Nov 2012

  More Doping Tests Coming, Says Tennis Boss

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More Doping Tests Coming, Says Tennis Boss

Roger Federer and Andy Murray have been criticized by Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), for their doubts about the anti-doping program of the organization.

Bitti also remarked that he is considering doing more tests next year, especially out-of-competition blood tests. The ITF head remarked that till a few years ago, players were complaining because they were being tested and now they are complaining they are not tested enough.

Doubts were expressed by Federer and Murray about the anti-doping program in the wake of Lance Armstrong doping scandal that has shaken cycling and sport in general. Federer recently said he feels like being tested less now than six or seven years ago and said he agrees with Andy that we do not do a lot of blood tests during the year.

A veteran Italian sports official who is also a member of the executive committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Ricci Bitti, remarked in Prague during the Davis Cup final that what Federer said could be true of him, since testing is allocated by drawing lots but said he doesn’t think they are right. However, Bitti remarked that they surely help us by making such remarks as it allows us to move in the direction in which we want to proceed ahead but still it is strange that they change their minds a lot.

The head of ITF further remarked that defining ‘out of competition’ in tennis is harder, because ‘out’ is rather before or after the competition but the Tennis Federation will try to increase the percentage of tests done out of competition, blood tests, and the number of tests in general.

Ricci Bitti warned that tests done out of competition, blood tests, and the number of tests in general are the three areas on which we are working with our partners (the Grand Slams, the ATP and the WTA) but the ITF needs consensus, because increasing the program means a lot of money. According to the latest statistics of the ITF, 2150 tests were carried out in the sport in 2011, of which only 131 were blood tests and only 21 were done out of competition of the latter. Ricci Bitti said we believe that our anti-doping program is absolutely good and our work is highly appreciated in terms of quality.

But the ITF head was quick to accept some criticism by saying that he believes that ITF is a little bit exposed in terms of quantity and remarked he is not pretentious as to think that we can catch all cheats but confident that tennis is a clean sport. He went on to remark that ITF needs to improve its program but he is pretty much confident that tennis cannot have an Armstrong case that was  highly organized and scientific system, which is not the case with tennis.

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong was stripped of his titles by the ruling cycling body UCI after the United States Anti-Doping Agency said in a report he was involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

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Saturday 22, Nov 2008

  Canadian Football League at 50 and still with zero anti-doping program

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canadian-football-league-steroidsAs the National Football League is presently embroiled in a doping controversy, its Canadian counterpart, the CFL, is still without a doping policy to test players for anabolic steroids and related subtances.

CFL was officially founded in 1958 and is considered to be the most popular major league sports in Canada next to National Hockey League. Currently, the CFL has eight teams playing divided into two divisions, the East and the West. Each division has four teams each.

CFL’s active teams are Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, Toronto Argonauts, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Grey Cup refers to both the championship season of the CFL and the trophy awarded to the winning team.

In the 2007 Grey Cup, the Roughriders won over the Blue Bombers.