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

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid