News / Africa

Expert: No Such Thing as 'Accidental' Doping

Dick Pound, former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, during news conference in Montreal, Quebec, May 13, 2007.Dick Pound, former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, during news conference in Montreal, Quebec, May 13, 2007.
x
Dick Pound, former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, during news conference in Montreal, Quebec, May 13, 2007.
Dick Pound, former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, during news conference in Montreal, Quebec, May 13, 2007.
Anita Powell
On the first day of a global anti-doping conference the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Dick Pound, made a bold statement: There is no such thing as accidental doping.
 
The statement comes as anti-doping officials are meeting in Johannesburg to adopt a new code that will make it harder than ever for athletes to use such drugs.
 
With many top-level athletes initially denying doping allegations only to later admit they had used performance-enhancing drugs, the new code stipulates harsher penalties for doping, doubling bans from two years to four in some cases.
 
“The issue that was raised by Mr. Pound has come from his experience in anti-doping, and the fact that he chaired a committee that we held to look at the effectiveness of testing," said David Howman, World Anti-Doping Agency Director-General. "He has a very strong belief that far more athletes than concede intentionally dope, and therefore the category of what he refers to as ‘accidental dopers’ is a small one.  Now, I have been quoted for many years saying we have two categories of dopers, the ‘dopey dopers’ who may be in the category that Mr. Pound described, and the 'sophisticated dopers,' and it’s no surprise to me that he should use those terms. I think that what we need to look at very closely as we go forward — and this is mirrored in the code review — is the way to deal with the sophisticated doper, the intentional doper.”
 
Mark Cooper, head of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, says the idea of "accidental doping" may be a stretch, although what he describes as “inadvertent doping” does happen.
 
Giving the example of prominent South African swimmer Terence Parkin, Cooper says a combination of factors can lead athletes to inadvertently ingest banned substances.
 
“Terence won a silver medal in swimming at the Athens Olympic Games and continues to compete," he said. "Terence is deaf and Terence is also dyslexic, so would somebody please explain to me how I am expected to read to Terence the list of banned substances? It is just not possible. And yeah, it is reasonable to ask the athlete to have a common sense approach and to check everything, but you know, there are still parts of the world there where are high illiteracy rates. How can we expect somebody who is illiterate to read the ingredient list on a can of protein powder?”
 
South African runner Hezekiel Sepeng says a lack of education and awareness leads many young athletes to use banned substances. After being suspended from athletics for two years for testing positive for a banned substance in 2005, the Olympic medal winner says he knows of many athletes who have “accidentally” ingested such substances in their food or drink.
 
The solution, he says, is education.
 
“We need to teach our athletes. That means those athletes, they have to learn. There is the rules, man. There is rules. I understand we are from different cultures, but there is rules. We need to make sure, especially what we drink, what we eat.”
 
The WADA conference concludes three days of meetings on Friday, but teaching athletes how to avoid banned substances may take much longer.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Michael Murray from: North Carolina, USA
November 15, 2013 2:19 PM
Nice article.

Nowadays' everybody is a publisher and to compete for attention you have to say something sticking to stand out. Saying "No Such Thing as 'Accidental' Doping" is sticking, it certainly gets attention, but that does not make it correct. I am an advocate of riding the scourge of doping in sport by all means available, but not by 'any' means necessary. As a reasonable and compassionate person, I would rather see ten dopers go free, than to see one innocent (truly inadvertent) doper convicted and banned for life. In America, unless you have the financial resources and the will and to completely cut yourself off from society, there is a possibility to inadvertently use a banned substance. As a professional athlete, you need to do all that you can to reduce that possibility, but you can’t completely erase that possibility. In sport as in life, there is truly such a thing as an innocent mistake (-or inadvertent use). I am OK with a penalty for mistakes, but can’t treat inadvertently driving over the speed limit, like the willful act driving drunk.

I guess when you aren’t an athlete and don’t have a reputation, a lifetime of work and a career at stake, it is easy to throw out the baby with bath water.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More