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Wednesday 30, Dec 2015

  Russia Likely To Miss 2016 Olympics

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European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen has remarked Russia is likely to miss the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Hansen remarked there is probably too little time for the Russian sports federation to comply with the various verification criteria required by the IAAF to return to competition. In an interview, Hansen said he cannot really see them competing in Rio for the moment they have to fulfill the conditions. Hansen added we will have the first report to the IAAF in March but for the moment they have to really, really put a lot of effort in to compete in Rio and also commented that Russia must have a cultural change and must get rid of all those people from before. Hansen also said we know some good people in Russian athletics and he is sure they will be elected. The European Athletics president added we hope that some new people will come in who really understand that this must be changed.

The Olympics powerhouse was banned for an indefinite period of time recently by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after an independent commission by the World Anti-Doping Agency uncovered widespread doping among its athletes. It was also claimed by the commission’s report that the Kremlin government was complicit in a well-organized program to give its competitors an edge in competitions.

A taskforce from IAAF is expected to visit Russia for the first time on January 10-11 next year for inspecting the response to the doping scandal that resulted in the indefinite ban. Rune Anderson, independent chairman of the taskforce, remarked we have established a good working relationship as the basis of our future discussions and meetings. The committee is likely to report back to the International Association of Athletics Federations council at the earliest at its meeting in Cardiff, Wales, on 27 March, which is less than five months before the Olympics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and all colleagues connected with sport to pay full attention to the doping allegations. Putin has also called for an internal investigation to be conducted that would guarantee full cooperation with international anti-doping bodies. Putin also added the struggle with doping in sports, unfortunately, remains a pressing issue and it requires unending attention but was quick to draw a clear distinction with clean athletes. The Russian President said it is absolutely clear that athletes who stay away from dope and clean shouldn’t be held responsible for those who use performance enhancing drugs.

Russia was suspended in November this year after a WADA commission, which was led by Dick Pound, exposed widespread, systematic and allegedly state-sanctioned doping. The report by WADA examined allegations of doping, cover-ups, and extortion in Russian athletics and also implicated the world governing body of athletics. Many of country’s athletes received doping bans in the recent past. Recently, Russian 1500m runner Kristina Ugarova and 800m runner Tatyana Myazina were among athletes who were recommended for life bans in a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report.

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Friday 22, May 2015

  Justin Gatlin ‘Kicked Out’ By Beijing Meeting Organizers

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Justin Gatlin ‘Kicked Out’ By Beijing Meeting Organizers

American sprinter Justin Gatlin has stunned the world of athletics by saying that he was recently “kicked out” of the Beijing World Challenge by meeting organizers.

Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, was all set to race in China after he ran his fastest ever 100m time of 9.74 seconds in Doha. The 33-year-old was unsure about his fitness after a flight to Beijing but looked ready to compete after going through a training session. The sprinter remarked they did not have any respect for me so they said ‘you better leave’.” The sprinter’s manager Renaldo Nehemiah said the sudden departure of Gatlin from Beijing has nothing to do with this controversial reputation. Nehemiah remarked the meeting organizers think Gatlin is injured and they don’t want him here if he is injured. The former 110m hurdles world-record holder Renaldo Nehemiah said Gatlin is a man on a mission and he knows he has only so many races and years left so he’s making every one of them count. Nehemiah added people who aren’t students of the sport don’t realize he was a phenom before he ever got banned.

In reply, Organizers of the Beijing World Challenge denied kicking out Gatlin and remarked they were “perplexed” by claim of the athlete. The meeting’s organizing committee said there had been “no possibility” that they would have said no to the current top sprinter of the world to compete. Liu Jie, deputy director of the organizing committee, said we had been preparing the event assuming Gatlin would run the race and added that there was no way we ‘kicked out’ the athlete. Jie also said the sprinter’s manager did not communicate with us before he announced Gatlin’s withdrawal at the news conference and we never got to speak with Gatlin in person. The deputy director of the organizing committee also remarked that he had no idea that Justin Gatlin was returning back home without competing until he heard Gatlin’s manager announce it at the eve of meeting press conference.

A few hours later, Gatlin said “all is fine” with the Beijing track meet organizers. Gatlin tweeted from his private Twitter account late Tuesday night Eastern Time that he and Beijing Org have great relationship and look forward to being there in August “Worlds” & next year meet. Gatlin remarked he is looking forward to competing in the Pre Classic in Eugene, Oregon, on May 30 and said he is going to drop a bomb out there.

Gatlin, an Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meters, became the world leader of 2014 in the 200 meters when he won the Diamond League event in Monaco in 19.68 seconds.

Justin Gatlin is not new to controversies. His first run-in with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) was apparently due to an attention-deficit drug he was taking since he was eight years old. In 2006, Gatlin was found to have excess Testosterone in his system and received a suspension of four years. However, Gatlin claimed innocence and insisted that the hormone was administered without his knowledge by a masseuse.

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Thursday 18, Sep 2014

  WADA Continuing Drive To Educate About Doping

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WADA Continuing Drive To Educate About Doping

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will be educating young athletes about the possible dangers of doping after 15-year-old Russian twins Olga and Yelena Paushkina received doping bans of two years.

Olga and Yelena, who won the 1500 meters gold medal at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht in a swift time of 4 minutes and 25.98 seconds, tested positive on April 24 for unspecified “prohibited substances” and the bans were confirmed by the Anti-Doping Commission of the All-Russian Athletics Federation.

Recently, 16-year-old weightlifter Chika Amalaha from Nigeria tested positive for banned substances and was stripped of her 53 kilogram gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow earlier this summer. The gold was later awarded to Dika Toua of Papua New Guinea. This was after both samples of Amalaha confirmed the adverse analytical findings of Amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide, which are both prohibited as masking agents and diuretics under class S5 of the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Amiloride and Hydrochlorothiazide are used to lose body weight. Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper had remarked Amalaha was suspended from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Amalaha did not contest the findings at her hearing, according to a statement by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). The silver medal was awarded to Santoshi Matsa of India, while compatriot Swati Singh was upgraded to bronze.

Ben Nichols, WADA’s senior manager of media relations and communications, remarked that WADA has taken different measures for educating young athletes about the dangers of banned drugs, either inadvertently or deliberately. Nichols remarked we are aware of the suspensions issued to the two athletes, but we must wait to receive the full case file before we can review the reasons for the decision and added that WADA generally speaking has long been concerned about the need to educate young and aspiring athletes about the dangers of doping.

Nichols added WADA through its Play True Generation program has put in place successful preventative measures which have educated the youth on the consequences of doping, and have helped promote fair play, values-based messages to not just aspiring athletes but to their coaches and support personnel, too and athlete-to-youth interaction is an excellent way of getting the clean sport message across through the WADA Athlete Committee. He went on to remark that the Outreach program of WADA at last month’s Youth Olympic Games provided an excellent example of how the athletes’ message can cut through and reach the young in an easy-to-understand, engaging way. He also remarked tools to educate the young on anti-doping are now well established importantly and are available for anti-doping organizations to roll out across their own programs worldwide.

Two more Russian middle distance runners, 25-year-old Vyacheslav Shalamov and 24-year-old Polina Dontsov along with 22-year-old steeplechaser Damir Saurbayev received similar bans.

In the recent times, many top athletes have been accused or found guilty of doping. In July, Vladimir Dyatchin, the two-time world open water champion, was provisionally suspended after he failed an anti-doping test. Breaststroke world record holder Yulia Efimova and European champion and world record holder Vitali Melnikov are presently serving doping suspensions.

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Monday 25, Aug 2014

  NRL Confirm Doping Bans Accepted By 12 Cronulla Players

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NRL Confirm Doping Bans Accepted By 12 Cronulla Players

National Rugby League (NRL) boss has confirmed that 12 past and current Cronulla players have accepted backdated 12-month doping bans.

Dave Smith said there is no room for illegal substances in rugby league and the NRL will take whatever action is necessary to protect the integrity of the game. The NRL chief added the evidence in this case supports the fact that players were misled about the nature of the substances administered to them by people at the club who they should have been able to trust. Smith also remarked the suspensions recognize the fact that the players were misled, that the investigation has been ongoing for the past 18 months and that players made timely admissions after being provided with evidence earlier this week. The NRL Head also remarked controversial biochemist Stephen Dank has also been banned over his involvement in the supplements program and would never again be permitted to practice in the competition.

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen is one of 10 current NRL players alongside Cronulla teammates Nathan Gardner, Wade Graham, and Anthony Tupou. Newcastle’s Jeremy Smith and Kade Snowden, Titans halfback Albert Kelly and prop Luke Douglas plus North Queensland centre Matthew Wright are all understood to have accepted the deal. The suspension means Gallen would be ruled out of the upcoming Four Nations tournament for Australia and Smith will be unable to represent New Zealand. Wright will miss the finals with the Cowboys and the Four Nations tournament for Samoa. The offer was rejected by Super League-based players Paul Aiton and Ben Pomeroy.

In another development, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been urged to overrule the “light” punishments handed out to past and present Cronulla Sharks players. News Corp reported that the chief executive of WADA is yet to review the evidence from the 17 doping cases despite lawyers for the players saying they received a guarantee from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) that WADA would not interfere in the sanctions process.

John Fahey, former WADA boss, remarked the “light” penalties imposed by ASADA made a joke of anti-doping integrity in Australia. Fahey strongly urged WADA chief executive David Howman to review and overrule the sanctions. Fahey expressed anger over the backdated penalties and said nobody has had their record expunged and they did not hand back their earnings from this year nor did they have their names wiped from the record books as so many convicted athletes are forced to do under the WADA code around the world.

Backdated 12-month ASADA doping bans were accepted by Cronulla captain Paul Gallen and nine of his current and former Sharks teammates. The players reluctantly agreed to doping rather than face the prospect of facing an even-lengthier suspension over the club’s supplements program.

Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett blasted the ASADA investigation. The legendary coach said the public nature of the investigation and the hyperbolic claims at a media conference helped no-one. Bennett remarked the bottom line is, right or wrong or whatever, the deal that finished up being cut for them at the end, if they believe there’s been performance enhancing drugs involved, it’s been a pretty fair deal.

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Sunday 04, Aug 2013

  Doping Cheat Identification In Sport Pointless

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Doping Cheat Identification In Sport Pointless

Sports authorities cannot hope to prevent cheating as the cost of testing is extremely high and the probability of detecting sports people who take performance enhancing drugs is so low, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide collected data from across the world of positive doping test results. The involved researchers assessed the frequency and sensitivity of testing across 93 different sports. They found that anti-doping systems were unreliable and the numbers of tests every year are low, which means that the likelihood of catching a drug cheat was highly unlikely.

It was suggested by the researchers that doping in sports now seemed to be more widespread than ever despite testing. They revealed that the probability of detection in the case of continuous doping was only 33 percent if an athlete was tested 12 times in a year. It was further disclosed in the study that athletes do not continuously take performance enhancing drugs and instead use increasingly sophisticated techniques to avoid detection to reduce the probability of detection even further.

The study was undertaken by Professor Maciej Henneberg from the university’s school of medical sciences, who supervised PhD student Aaron Hermann who performed the calculations. In a paper published in Archives des Science in Geneva, the research concluded the detection rate would be about 34 percent or odds of 3:1 based on the assumption of an average of 12 tests a year, indicating there was a 66 percent chance of not being detected – “quite good odds for someone willing to take a risk.” It was suggested by the findings of the study that the fact that tests are not working well is illustrated by the recent decision of the World Anti-doping Agency to increase the length of doping bans from two to four years with the aim of increasing the deterrent effect of the penalty.

The total cost per year for all athletes to be effectively tested would be astronomical, Henneberg said. The researchers, using German data, calculated that the annual cost of testing 4,000 official athletes of Germany would exceed €84 million (US$120 million) a year. Henneberg added that is a massive shortfall when you consider that the annual revenue for the German National Anti-doping Association was only €4.5 million in 2010 and this suggests the current system of anti-doping testing is inadequate to eliminate doping. It was further added by Henneberg that it appears that anti-doping policies are in place more for perception, to show that the right thing is being done. In practice, based on these estimates, the anti-doping system is doomed to fail.

The study also revealed that it would not be economically viable for drug testing to be completely effective. It revealed that each of the world’s athletes would need to be tested up to 50 times a year at a cost of at least US$25,000 per athlete if sports authorities were to have a 100% chance of detecting drug cheats. This estimate was based on the lowest-cost tests currently available, without any of the additional expenses.

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Monday 10, Dec 2012

  Worldwide Life Bans Required To Stop Athletes From Doping

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Worldwide Life Bans Required To Stop Athletes From Doping

Former Olympic hurdles champion @Sally Gunnell has remarked that doping bans of four years are not enough and tougher worldwide sanctions are needed to deter athletes from doping in the future.

The World Anti-Doping Agency recently detailed plans for a minimum suspension of four years for athletes found guilty of using drugs such as anabolic steroids to enhance their performance. Gunnell said though she believes that an increase from the present suspension of two years to four years is a step taken in the right direction, but a life ban with rules applicable across the globe is required to deter athletes from doping.

The 1992 Olympic 400m hurdles champion said I have always had strong views about a life ban and she believes that the ban of two years was never good enough as people think that using drugs to win is worth the gamble as they will only miss the two years and can come back. Gunnell remarked this is the reason why she supports a life ban and doing this will mean people will start saying doping is not worth it. She further added that she hopes the whole of the world would have the same rules as we do. Gunnell, speaking in a week which has seen Russian discus thrower Darya Pishchalnikova set to be stripped of her London 2012 silver medal after a second doping offense, said a two-year ban is worth the gamble in many countries as cheats can actually go away, train hard, and come back out a better athlete. The anti-doping message needs to be a strong one when you are trying to encourage youngsters to get involved in sport, Gunnell reinforced.

Born on 29 July 1966 in Chigwell (Essex), Sally Jane Janet Gunnell OBE also worked as a television presenter, predominantly for the BBC until January 2006. She started as an accomplished long jumper and pentathlete in athletics with the Essex Ladies club before turning to the sprints and hurdling. At the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Gunnell won the 400 m hurdles and set the world record in the same event when she won gold in the 1993 World Championships. She remains the only woman to have held the European, World, Commonwealth, and Olympic 400 meter hurdles titles at the same time and is now involved as one of the ambassadors for McCain’s Track & Field partnership with UK Athletics. Gunnell was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) and in the 1998 Queen’s Birthday Honors, she was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1993 New Year Honors and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex in 2011.

Sally Gunnell is married to fellow-athlete Jonathan Bigg and was a celebrity showjumper in the BBC’s Sport Relief event Only Fools on Horses in summer 2006, won a Weakest Link Sporting Heroes Special, first broadcast on Saturday 25 July 2009 on BBC One, and took part in a celebrity version of TV show Total Wipeout that aired on 2 January 2010.

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