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Wednesday 26, Feb 2014

  Russian Biathlete Withdraws Over Doping Test

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Russian biathlete withdraws over doping test

One of Russia’s brightest medal hopes in the Sochi Games has pulled out of the event over a positive doping test. Irina Starykh, the athletes, termed the positive result as a “misunderstanding” and withdrew herself from the event.

Irina remarked she will leave the team for “an indefinite period.” Irina wrote in a letter posted on the Russian biathlon program’s website that she finds herself in a difficult situation and think it is necessary to inform about her decision to leave the team for an indefinite period of time. She added it would be unacceptable to be on the team until the end of the proceedings because of the test.

The 26-year-old said she has asked the RBU to exclude her from the team until the end of the investigation and to inform all the concerned organizations about her decision. The athlete has meanwhile asked for the B sample to be tested and said she is extremely sorry that this doping story is linked to her name. Starykh, the sixth-ranked woman in the world, won the sprint competition in the European championships last year.

Recently, the International Biathlon Union remarked that one Lithuanian and two Russian biathletes have tested positive for doping. A statement by the International Biathlon Union revealed that the IBU in accordance with the WADA code therefore provisionally suspended the respective athletes from any IBU competitions until the decision of the anti-doping hearing panel is reached. The IBU however didn’t release the names of the athletes or say whether they were members of their countries’ Olympic teams.

Till a few decades ago, Russia was the frontrunner in biathlon but its team had lost its luster in the last few years. Russia has been overpowered by Norwegians and Germans. The country was still considered by many as a serious competitor for many medals in the Sochi Games. The national and international sports officials have appreciated the efforts of Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) president Mikhail Prokhorov, who is also the owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, to clean up the sport. Prokhorov has spent heavily for preparing the biathlon team of Russia for the Olympics. Prokhorov has publicly vowed to resign if Russia does not win at least two gold medals. Prokhorov remarked the RBU would issue a detailed comment on the case only after receiving the records about the case from the IBU. He added we have tested 10 times more samples than WADA (world anti-doping agency) did in these years and we have tested our athletes in and after every training camp as it’s a question of principle for us (RBU).

Meanwhile, Anders Besseberg, the IBU president, has remarked he was very pleased with the detection system. He also expressed his satisfaction over the time and money spent on catching cheats and remarked it is clear proof that we are doing a very serious job here. Max Cobb, president of the U.S. Biathlon Association, said if top-ranked athletes are involved, then it really calls into question the whole program and makes you really wonder about the results of the whole team. Cobb went on to add that he thought that with the new leadership that this was getting cleaned up and said it is very disappointing to see this, if it’s all what it appears to be.

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Thursday 25, Apr 2013

  Athletes Often Misuse Protein Supplements

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Athletes Often Misuse Protein Supplements

According to a recent study, protein supplements don’t improve performance or recovery time and such supplements are inefficient for most athletes.

Martin Fréchette, a researcher and graduate of the Université de Montréal Department of Nutrition, said these supplements are often poorly used or unnecessary by both high-level athletes and amateurs.

Fréchette submitted questionnaires to 42 athletes as part of his thesis for the Masters degree. In the questionnaire, sportsmen were asked about their use of supplements while keeping a journal of their eating habits for three days and came from a variety of disciplines including biathlon, cycling, long-distance running, swimming, judo, skating, and volleyball. Nine out of 10 athletes reported food supplements on a regular basis and they consumed an average of 335 products: energy drinks, multi-vitamins, minerals, and powdered protein supplements. Fréchette found their knowledge of food supplements to be weak and remarked the role of proteins is particularly misunderstood and said only one out of four consumers could associate a valid reason, backed by scientific literature, for taking the product according.

Seventy percent of athletes in Fréchette’s study didn’t feel their performance would suffer if they stopped such consumption despite the widespread use of protein supplements and Fréchette said more than 66 percent of those who believed to have bad eating habits took supplements. For those who claimed to have ‘good’ or ‘very good’ eating habits that number climbs to 90 percent. He further stressed that supplements come with certain risks and contended that their purity and preparation aren’t as controlled as prescription medication and sports supplements often contain other ingredients than those listed on the label and some athletes consume prohibited drugs without knowing.

No less than 81 percent of athletes taking supplements already had sufficient protein from their diet, Fréchette said and added that the use of multivitamins and minerals can make up for an insufficient intake of calcium, folate yet not for lack of potassium. Other studies have shown that 12 to 20 percent of products that are regularly used by athletes include prohibited substances and a particular interest by the athletes on the efficiency, legality, and safety of those drugs was observed by Fréchette. The researcher and graduate of the Université de Montréal Department of Nutrition also remarked that consumers of supplements had levels of sodium, magnesium, niacin, folate, vitamin A and iron that exceeded the acceptable norms, which makes them susceptible to health problems such as nausea, vision trouble, fatigue and liver anomalies.

In another study, Tim Byers, MD, MPH, professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health and associate director for prevention and control at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, disclosed that Beta-carotene, selenium and folic acid have now been shown to increase the risk of developing a host of cancers. Byers added that we need to do a better job as a society in ensuring that the messages people get about value versus risk is accurate for nutritional supplements and also added that his conclusion is that taking high doses of any particular nutrient is more likely to be a bad thing than a good thing.

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