How International Drug Testing on Athletes is conducted
The use of drugs by athletes is an extremely controversial issue for several years. Athletes use a number of artificial stimulants that give them a mental as well as a physical edge against their opponents. Drug testing of the athletes has become very common in almost all sports.
The performance increasing drugs can be consumed both orally as well by injecting with a needle. These drugs consist of over-the-counter common supplements that help in muscle building to recovery products and blood doping to enhance the endurance.
The international agency for anti-doping formulates a list of the substances that have been banned every year. The athletes are then tested to check if they haven’t used these drugs.
But it is important to understand the meaning of doping in sports, and importantly how do scientists ensure that the athletes compete fairly.
What is banned?
Any material that is believed to increase the performance of an athlete, is harmful to the health, or goes totally against the very essence of the sports, is banned.
Stimulants, various kinds of steroids and a number of such drugs can assist the athletes in cheating cheat, by:
- Building mass muscle
- Increasing the athlete’s endurance
- reaction times can be Speed-ed up
- Helping the athletes recover very quickly
- Hiding a number of other doping substances that are present in their bodies
How are the athletes tested?
The athletes can be tested not only at any point in time but also in any kind of place.
Tests are often a surprise, and the athletes are under the watchful eye of the officials until they are completed. All this is done to ensure they don’t cheat. They are supposed to visit a specified station of doping control. Here they not only supply their details but also provide the required samples.
The sample of the athletes
Samples can be either urine or blood or at times both.
For the sample of the urine, they must give approximately 90 milliliters. This may take either a few minutes or several hours. There have been instances where some athletes were caught trying to cheat the officials by changing their samples. As a result, there is extreme vigilance now. The sample thus obtained is then stored in two separate bottles, sealed and then dispatched for drug testing to a laboratory.
The lab process
In the lab, the scientists check the samples for all kinds of traces of the substances that have been banned. It is not easy to find the banned substances because the human blood and urine comprise of different types of things. Scientists use highly sensitive tests for drug testing. These tests can detect even the tiniest of traces, even those drugs that were not taken recently. In order to ensure fair testing, the scientists are completely unaware of the names of the athletes whose samples are being tested.
What happens if drug testing is positive?
If any kind of banned materials is found in the testing sample, the sports persons can always ask that the second bottle should also be tested.
In case the athlete cannot explain the presence of the banned substance, it could lead him or her in a big soup.
A large number of people are interested in debating over the importance of drug testing in sports, Therefore it is imperative to clearly understand both the benefits as well as the limitations of testing for drugs in athletes.
Firstly it is essential to identify the purpose of drug testing. They are not conducted to catch the athletes who are cheating. It is for the promotion of fair play and making sports safer for the participating athletes.
Benefits of testing for drugs
• Deterring the participating athletes who may consider using drugs for cheating
• Promotion of sports that are free from drugs and incorporate fair play
• promoting equality in sports
• giving rewards for the training, ability, and efforts
• protects the reputations of the athletes
Drawbacks of drug testing
The use of drug testing in sport does have limitations in its use.The limitations consist of:
– All the drugs cannot be tested for. New drugs get created frequently,
– Drug testing is usually very expensive.
Thus we see that drug testing is a great problem facing our athletes.