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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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