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Monday 05, Sep 2016

  Anti-Doping Advisers Resign Over ‘Ignored’ Suggestions

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Three anti-doping advisers to the world governing body of swimming have submitted their resignations. Professor Andrew Pipe has left his role as chairman of the body’s doping control review board, as have two other members of the eight-strong panel.

In a letter to the governing body, the experts added that the failure of FINA to enact other recommendations that the doping control review board has made in the past, is incompatible with our dedication to clean sport and optimal anti-doping practice.

The anti-doping advisers remarked FINA ignored a call to ban some Russian athletes from Rio 2016. Seven swimmers competed at the recently concluded Rio Olympics despite bans from the board for doping violations. Those banned by the board included Yulia Efimova who won two silver medals in the women’s 100m and 200m breaststroke events.

The resignation letter of Pipe criticized FINA over its handling of the process. In the letter, the chairman of the body’s doping control review board said we were disappointed to note that our recommendations were not followed – and even more disappointed to receive no specific response to a subsequent written request for information regarding the reasons for FINA’s decision. It also said we learned of FINA’s decisions regarding the eligibility of Russian competitors only by observing the Olympic competition.

The FINA Doping Control Review Board (DCRB) is composed by eight persons appointed by the Bureau. A majority of the DCRB members shall be either physicians licensed in internal medicine, endocrinology, clinical pharmacology or sports medicine, with experience in anti-doping practices or analytical chemists with experience in WADA accredited laboratories or their equivalent. The Doping Control Review Board may review and make recommendations to the Bureau regarding the doping control program of FINA and may make proposals for additions or amendments to the Doping Control Rules for consideration by the Congress. The DCRD is also entrusted with the task of approving the Therapeutic Use Exemptions on behalf of FINA in accordance with the FINA Doping Control Rules and WADA Code.

In its defense, FINA remarked it provided the advice to the International Olympic Committee and the Court of Arbitration for Sport and also commented that it was not responsible for the final outcome.

FINA president Dr Julio C Maglione said the world governing body of swimming always co-ordinates with all stakeholders in the sport movement to assure that transparency and zero tolerance in the fight against doping is in place, thus protecting the clean athletes. Maglione added please rest assured that we will continue the same policy in fighting against doping without any limitation, equally applying the doping control rules to all athletes and all FINA Member Federations.

Many criticized FINA for resisting suggestions to retest samples taken at the 2015 world championships hosted by Russia. The doping case of China’s star swimmer Sun Yang, a two-time 2012 Olympic freestyle gold medalist, was shrouded in mystery two years back. The positive test of Yang was for a banned stimulant and subsequent three-month ban was confirmed in China and by the world governing body of swimming only after it was served.

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Tuesday 10, May 2016

  Sports Warned By ASC About Match-Fixing And Doping Risks

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John Wylie, chairman of the Australian Sports Commission, has written to professional clubs and national associations across the country imploring board directors to follow new integrity guidelines to help insulating their organizations from the growing risks of match-fixing and doping.

Wylie remarked the integrity risks to sport are increasing in a range of areas, not just in doping and illicit drugs but in match-fixing and areas like that. The chairman of the Australian Sports Commission also commented that we wanted to provide practical guidance to directors of sports boards as to what are the questions they should be asking around the board table to maximize the likelihood that they can avoid any problems in integrity in their sport and their clubs. Wylie also said the risks are going up and that means the reputational risk to directors is increasing so we felt that there is a very important goal there for the sports commission.

The ASC, which oversees more than $134 million of federal government funding to sports, sent a five-page document imploring volunteer directors to be vigilant. The guidelines of ASC include advice to sport directors to sit in and hear briefings at least once a year given by their sport’s anti-corruption officials to players. The ASC guidelines also suggested that the directors should ask questions pertaining to sports medicine and sports science, illicit drugs, anti-doping, child protection, and match-fixing.

Wylie said frankly a lot of directors on the sports boards do not know what questions to ask but no one wants to be a director of an organization where things blow up into an integrity crisis so we are trying to help them minimize the risks. The Australian Sports Commission chairman added directors should be aware of what the trends are in betting, they should be making sure that their sporting code is working with all the international organizations that monitor sports betting, for example and also said being fully informed is an essential part of minimizing the risk for directors. The new guidelines for directors were not mandatory and not associated to funding of individual sports, said Wylie. The ASC chairman also said the integrity of sport is fundamental to spectators’ confidence in the sports and to the long-term success of the sport.

Major football codes of Australia have been gripped by high-profile doping scandals in recent times with Essendon and Cronulla being the big names. There have also been prominent match-fixing affairs in the Victorian League Soccer and the NRL in recent years.

In a recently-released by the World Anti-Doping Agency listing the top 10 nations with maximum drug offences in 2014, Australia was on the seventh spot with 49 recorded doping offences. This count included 20 in rugby league, nine in bodybuilding, four in life-saving, three in athletics, two in Australian rules for football, two in cycling, among others. Russia was on the top of the list followed by Italy and India. Belgium, France and Turkey landed the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions. WADA Director General David Howman remarked the report is strictly evidence-based.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Sports Warned By ASC About Match-Fixing And Doping Risks

Tuesday 02, Sep 2014

  WADA Bans Xenon And Argon

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The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned Xenon and Argon despite doping experts yet to find an effective test for athletes using these gases.

This ban was introduced amid concerns that athletes were breathing these gases to improve the growth of red blood cells that boost stamina. The anti-doping agency believes there is sufficient evidence of the potential of these so-called noble gases (because they are inert and don’t react with anything else) to ban them. Earlier this year, it was reported in media that athletes in Russia have been using Xenon and Argon for years to boost stamina ahead of international competition. The company that developed techniques to help athletes prepare using Xenon has a “badge of honor” on its website from the Russian Olympic Committee for “the organization and conduct of inhalation remediation”.

Xenon at less than 100 parts per billion is one of the rarest natural gas components in the atmosphere. It has been used in medical imaging, lamps, and flash bulbs. This gas has been used in Russia for decades as an anesthetic because of its lack of side effects.

Inhaling Xenon, mixed with oxygen, is rumored to improve stamina as it increases ability of the body to produce a protein known as hypoxia inducible factor 1, or HIF1. This protein stimulates the production of natural erythropoietin (EPO) that plays a critical role in regulating the count of red blood cells in the body. The more of these cells, the more amount of oxygen is transported in the body, and the greater the athletic stamina.

Earlier this year, the executive committee of WADA decided to ban Argon and Xenon by adding them to the prohibited list from this month. WADA’s science director Dr Olivier Rabin remarked we had serious information that xenon was being used and added that we believe it has been used in the preparation for some major events. Dr Rabin added WADA scientists are close to developing a direct test for the gas. Rabin remarked we had some preliminary pilot results that do indicate that detection is not too much of an issue but we just need to make it solid and robust in the anti-doping context and make sure that any result in the future will be accepted by a court.

When asked if the test would be in place by the end of the year, Dr Rabin said he cannot give a specific date, we usually do not, what he can tell is that the science is very solid and certainly we will do our best, now that the gases are on the prohibited lists to make sure there are detection methods available as soon as possible.

There could be dangers to the health of the athletes if they use large amounts of xenon or argon, says WADA. Dr Ben Koh, a former athlete and an expert on sports medicine, rejected this argument and said xenon is actually safer than hypoxic tents, in terms of heart failure, trauma to the ear and to the lungs, the risks are very well documented from hypoxic tents, on the other hand, xenon gas from the published literature seems to be quite safe.

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Wednesday 23, Feb 2011

  Openness to creatine advised by sports expert

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Openness to creatine advised by sports expertDr. Gregory L. Landry, a pediatrician who specializes in sports medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, recently said that pediatricians should not condemn all performance enhancing drugs.

Landry said physicians should take a more neutral attitude toward creatine since it has been linked with little risk than toward more dangerous substances such as anabolic steroids.

Dr. Landry said at a pediatric update sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics California Chapter 9 that creatine is low risk when compared to other risk taking behaviors.

Wednesday 15, Jul 2009

  Ethnicity Not To Be Disregarded During Doping Tests

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Ethnicity Not To Be Disregarded During Doping TestsAccording to the World Anti-Doping Agency, steroid is one of the commonly abused drug in the world of sports, since steroid can enhance the level of testosterone in the body. Recent researches however were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showing that current steroid doping tests performed on international athletes are actually inaccurate.

Through gas chromatography, standard result was set at a threshold above four for everyone. This chemical analysis would show in the testosterone: epitestosterone ratio through urine samples. The gene directly affected during the test (UGT2B17 gene) also affects the rate of metabolism in the body. Since it affects metabolism, it can also affect the testosterone levels found in the urine.

This research concluded that a single threshold result is not deemed fit to be used for international sports. Doping tests and threshold standards should be specific for each ethnic group due to genetic variations. Furthermore, it just shows that many factors may also indirectly affect an athlete’s steroid profile.