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Tuesday 11, Apr 2017

  India Clears Move To Make Doping A Criminal Offence

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India, which ranks third on the global list of dope-offenders compiled by the World Anti-Doping Agency, for the last three years, has cleared a proposal to make doping by athletes a criminal offence.

The proposal is in sync with laws that govern the usage of narcotics, according to the senior officials of the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) and the Indian sports ministry. The proposed legislation is aimed at imposing punishments on coaches and manufacturers too, who in many cases have been known to supply athletes with performance enhancing substances.

The draft legislation is being framed to criminalize the offence and will be forwarded to the sports ministry before being vetted by the law ministry. The Indian Parliament would have to pass the proposed legislation for it to be an Act. NADA director general Naveen Agarwal said the entire process could take at least six months. Agarwal, a 1986-batch J&K-cadre IPS officer, remarked the use, storage, and trade in narcotics is considered to be a criminal offence. Agarwal added we wanted doping to be put in the same category and the reason being if narcotics alter your mental condition, doping substances have an effect on your physical condition and also commented that both are very harmful for the body.

Agarwal also remarked he had met WADA director-general Olivier Niggli in Lausanne and also said it is on the world body’s insistence that legislation is being prepared. The Indian National Anti Doping Agency has also sought assistance from the Australian Anti Doping Agency in forming the legislation. The NADA director general also said the rules are yet to be framed and added we have to work out the modus operandi of the Act. Agarwal also said there could be a prison term also and also remarked there have been several cases where coaches have induced athletes to take the banned substance but have gone unpunished.

Agarwal went on to comment that we cannot take any action against the coach because he has not committed a criminal offence as per the law but added this will change once this Act is passed. He also commented that many manufacturers and suppliers of nutritional supplements similarly add artificial elements to their products but do not display them on the labels. Agarwal added many people who go to gyms (and not just athletes) to get well-toned bodies fall prey to this and also said there are temporary short-term results at the cost of long-term health hazards. The NADA director general said this is a public health issue, so a proper legislation and criminalization is required.

The country currently ranks third on the global list of dope-offenders compiled by WADA for the last three years. The Indian sports ministry hopes that criminalizing the offence would act as an effective deterrent.

Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas remarked it will need the engagement of several agencies. Once doping is made a criminal offence, it will act as a deterrent. Srinivas also commented that as much as complying with the idea of clean sports, this is also about realizing that doping results in acute harm to the abuser and so it should be prevented.

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Saturday 03, Dec 2016

  Athletes Were Persuaded By Former Anti-Doping Lab Chief To Take Unknown Substances

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The deputy chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Ilya Lazutov, has remarked athletes were induced into taking unknown substances by the former director of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov.

Lazutov added Rodchenkov is known to have been persuading them to take substances possessing unknown properties. The deputy chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee further added that testimonies to that effect had been made by several athletes whose names he was unable to disclose. He further added that the Investigative Committee is of the view that some criminal schemes may have been involved and added Rodchenkov may well have created and led a criminal ring.

More than 50 Russian athletes, their managers, and coaches were questioned as part of the Russian investigation into criminal cases involving violations of anti-doping rules. The list included former Deputy Sports Minister Yury Nagornykh and Natalia Zhelanova, a former advisor to the Russian sports minister on anti-doping issues. The Russia’s Investigative Committee deputy chairman added we are questioning everyone involved in the investigation regarding Rodchenkov and added we are also studying all claims regarding alleged opening of containers and substitution of doping samples.

Lazutov also commented that requests for legal assistance have been sent to the US to receive testimony from Grigory Rodchenkov, to Canada, to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to obtain the copies of materials that have formed the basis for Richard McLaren’s report.

It was further commented by the IC deputy chairman that the Investigative Committee while investigating the criminal cases continues to be open to cooperation with the relevant agencies and non-governmental organizations abroad, including the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee.

The IC deputy chief said the committee is open to cooperation with foreign agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the International Olympic Committee. Lazutov remarked we do count on mutual assistance within the framework of cooperation for obtaining the necessary information.

McLaren called Rodchenkov a credible and truthful person and remarked his report is based on evidence from the person who is at the center of this criminal scheme. This is a blow not only to the careers and fates of a large number of clean sportsmen, but also to the integrity of the Olympic movement.

Rodchenkov, who is taking refuge in the United States, had already confessed of eliminating some doping samples. Rodchenkov claimed he switched samples of athletes as he dumped “tainted” urine into a nearby toilet, washed out the bottles, dried and filled them with “clean” samples. Rodchenkov had also claimed that Russian athletes largely made use of performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Sochi Olympics with the approval from the national sports authorities.

Rodchenkov was blamed by investigators of using authority contrary to the legitimate interests of the anti-doping laboratory in order to extract personal benefits.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced in July this year that his government has made a decision to support amendments to tighten legislation to enhance responsibility and to adopt legislation allowing the use of detective and policing methods to let our law enforcers use investigative methods to expose the use and proliferation of doping substances.

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Sunday 03, Jul 2016

  Russia To Tighten Responsibility For Doping Violations

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has remarked the country will tighten the responsibility for doping abuse by athletes. Putin added law enforcers will be empowered to investigate such cases and also commented that the responsibility must be tightened.

Putin remarked he had discussed the issue with the government and said we have made a decision to support amendments to tighten legislation: to enhance responsibility and to adopt legislation allowing the use of detective and policing methods to let our law enforcers use investigative methods to expose the use and proliferation of doping substances. The Russian President said he also hopes a future State Duma would support the amendments.

Putin said the country is thankful to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) commenting on the situation around accusations of doping abuse by Russian athletes. The Russian head of the state promised to study information provided by WADA on doping among Russian athletes attentively. Putin said we should be thankful to our counterparts from the World Anti-Doping Agency and should treat the information they have provided in a most serious way. The President added Russia has always fought against doping at state level and will continue doing it. Putin also commented we hope the information we will be receiving ourselves or will be getting otherwise will be unbiased and said this is the sphere where conclusions should not be made on the basis of rumors or simply suspicions.

Putin stressed it is inadmissible to rely on the words of people who say it was them to commit violations and spread doping. He added it is them who are violators and who are responsible for this situation. Putin went on to say that the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee is looking into the accusations presently.

Allegations against Russian athletes started to emerge in November when the country’s athletics and anti-doping bodies were accused by WADA of massively breaching anti-doping rules. Last November, the track and field team of Russia was suspended after doping allegations. The decision of the world governing body of athletics to suspend Russia’s track and field team was upheld by the International Olympic Committee that meant Russia track team was banned from this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

The IAAF later took a soft stance on clean Russian athletes and said they can submit individual applications to compete in tournaments. The IAAF said on its official website a rule amendment was also passed which means that if there are any individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country and subject to other effective anti-doping systems, then they should be able to apply for permission to compete in international competitions, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko wrote an open letter to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) head Sebastian Coe in which he remarked the athletes of Russia must not be singled out as the only ones to be punished for a problem that is widely acknowledged to go far beyond our country’s borders. Mutko added Russian sport is healthy and clean, and not like it is shown abroad.

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Saturday 29, Jun 2013

  Spanish Police Arrest 84 In Doping Crackdown

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Spanish Police Arrest 84 In Doping Crackdown

The Spanish interior ministry has announced that police have arrested 84 people and dismantled two criminal gangs accused of importing and distributing sports doping substances across Spain.

It was further disclosed by the ministry that the raids were conducted over a period of ten months in ten regions of the country, with half the arrests in the country’s three largest cities: Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. In all, the authorities seized about 707,000 doses of anabolic steroids, blood boosters, and growth hormones and these substances were distributed through Spanish private homes and sports centers, according to the ministry statement. The ministry also revealed that one of the involved gangs imported the illegal products from Portugal, and the other imported their substances from Greece and China however the ministry desisted from disclosing the identities of those arrested but said they included a pharmacist.

The Ministry said in a statement that officers have dismantled two organizations importing the products, which can cause severe damage to health. The security forces, in their first operation, arrested 75 people accused of using the postal service to introduce doping drugs from Portugal to then sell on in gyms and private homes in Madrid, Valencia, the Basque Country and Asturias. Forty-seven homes were searched by police seizing more than 24,000 doses. According to estimates by the Spanish police, the organization could have introduced doping substances valued at more than 11,000 euros per day during the first trimester of 2013. The second ring made use of social networks for advertising and luring potential clients and introduced the drugs from China and Greece in postal packs. The Spanish police was able to seize 683,000 doses of steroids, EPO, and growth hormone and arrested nine people.

Spanish lawmakers this month approved a new measure that is intended to counter the doping concerns that have damaged the reputation of different sports in the country. The new measure will expand the range of doping tests and imposes larger fines for those dealing in illegal substances along with creating a more autonomous national anti-doping agency to fight the use of performance enhancing drugs. Many believe that this is a desperate attempt by the country because of Madrid’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics where it is competing with Istanbul and Tokyo, with the host city expected to be chosen in September. This measure is also expected to bring the country in line with the international norms and dispel the impression that Spain is soft on doping.

The country also wants the world to forget the controversial decision of a Spanish judge after she ordered the destruction of seized blood samples in the Operation Puerto doping scandal, a move that was criticized by the World Anti-Doping Agency and eminent sports personalities like Rafael Nadal. The verdict was even criticized by Alejandro Blanco, the president of Spain’s Olympic committee, who remarked the judge’s verdict had been “a mistake and a disaster” for Spanish sports but insisted that the outcome of the investigation should not undermine Madrid’s bid for the 2020 Summer Games.

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Monday 03, Jun 2013

  Some Athletes Believe Doping Substances Are Effective

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Some Athletes Believe Doping Substances Are Effective

Most elite athletes consider doping substances “are effective” in improving performance though they do recognize that this constitutes cheating and can endanger health and entail the risk of sanction, according to a recently concluded study.

It was also disclosed by the study (Doping in Sport: A Review of Elite Athletes’ Attitudes, Beliefs, and Knowledge. Morente-Sánchez J, Zabala M. Sports Medicine. 2013 Mar 27) conducted by researchers from the Department of Physical and Sports Education at the University of Granada that the reasons why athletes start to take doping substances are to attain athletic success, improve performance, financial gains, improve recovery, prevent nutritional deficiencies, and because other athletes also use them. This research also showed a widespread belief among elite athletes that the fight against doping is inefficient and biased, and that the sanctions imposed are not severe enough.

Researchers Mikel Zabala and Jaime Morente-Sánchez revealed their findings in an article in the journal “Sports Medicine” after analyzing the beliefs, knowledge, and attitudes of elite athletes from all over the world about doping. The involved researchers conducted a literature review of 33 studies on the subject published between 2000 and 2011, in order to analyze the present situation and, as a result of this, to act by the formulation of specific, efficient anti-doping strategies.

The study results revealed that athletes participating in team-based sports appear to be less susceptible to using doping substances and it was emphasized by the authors that anti-doping controls in team sports are clearly both quantitatively and qualitatively less exhaustive. It was indicated by the study that doctors and other specialists are less involved and coaches seem to be the principle influence and source of information for athletes when it comes to starting or not starting to take banned substances. The researchers remarked that there is still a lack of knowledge among athletes about the problems entailed in using banned substances and methods even though they are becoming increasingly familiar with anti-doping rules and therefore there should be remedied through appropriate educational programs. They also suggested that a substantial lack of information exists among elite athletes about dietary supplements and the secondary effects of performance-enhancing substances.

The University of Granada researchers, in the light of these results, consider it imperative to plan and conduct information and prevention campaigns to influence the attitudes of athletes towards doping and the culture surrounding this banned practice. Mikel Zabala and Jaime Morente-Sánchez conclude that we should not just dedicate money almost exclusively to performing anti-doping tests, as we currently do and to improve the situation, it would be enough to designate at least a small part of this budget to educational and prevention programs that encourage athletes to reject the use of banned substances and methods. One pioneering example in their opinion, in this context, is the Spanish Cycling Federation’s “Preventing to win” project.

In another development, a study published online in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology has revealed that the use of recombinant human erythropoietin is prohibited among athletes because it reportedly enhances performance but there is no scientific evidence that it does so.

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