Essay on use of Drugs in Sports

The present day Olympic Games were first started by Pierre de Couberlin. While laying foundation of the Olympic Games he had pointed out the necessity to protect the sports from dangers to which the sports could be vulnerable. In his speech delivered in Rome in 1923 he had denounced the intrusion of politics in the field of sports, the increasing venal attitude towards championship, the excessive worshipping of sport that leads to a belief in wrong values, chaunism, brutality, over working, over training and finally doping. The recent doping scandals have drawn the attention of media to practices which had hitherto had gone un-noticed. This media coverage has increased public awareness of this devil. In reality on account of the scope and sophistication of their use doping practices have become threats to the fairness and the existence of sportsman spirit in sports and games.

Doping is the intake of drugs i.e. chemical substances and adopting of methods which enhance the performance of sports persons. Dope tests of participants are conducted before every big event. Every winner is again tested after the performance. Sports the Authority of India claims that testing procedure in India is of international standard but it seems to be doubtful. There is no denying the fact that just like match fixing in cricket doping in sports should not be swept under the tartan track. In cannot be done, it is rampant. Even officials practiced with the collusion and conspiracy of coaches and managers as held by sports fraternity. Badminton star Aparna pupate had tested positive some three years back.

Thus it exists in every field. It may not be common in disciplines where muscle power is not of much importance but in the sports like weight lifting and races one needs to be extra muscular and hence tends to adopt unacceptable means. Authorities may take strictest measures to do away with doping but it has become a part of sports because competition has become very acute, so acute that participants deliberately ignore ethical and moral principles. Superiority complex or you may say inferiority complex sports them to adopt unscrupulous ways. Victory by any means: fair or foul, legal or illegal becomes their sole motive.


A few cases of use of drugs may be cited to illustrate the scope of the problem of doping. In 1986 a doctor and two pharmacist had sold over 2000 phials of Tonedron at 150 imes their normal prices i.e. suppose legitimate price was Re 1, they were charging Rs. 150 for that. On 2nd of December, 1995 customs officers had seized 200,000 tablets and phials of anabolic drugs near Lille in France. These were to be supplied to muscles building club-market. During 1966 out of 37 champions tested for doping 12 were found to be positive i.e. 37% of the lot. During 1977 out of 8000 tests conducted only 69 were found positive i.e. only one %.

This fall in percentage might be due to seizure of banned drugs, dismantling of distribution network as also the tragic fate of some champions. Between 1987 and 1990 i.e. in a period of three years 18 cycling champions Belgium and Holland and met their unnatural death on account of the use of “erythropoielin”. This leads us to believe that the decrease in number of positive tests is no indication of disappearance of the evils but goes to indicate that the ways and means to hide it have been discovered.

Sports Authority of India has started tests on sports persons since 1990 only now and then, 257 in all tested positive. But in the opinion of Dr.pushpinder. s. Bajaj, a specialist in sports injuries this figure does not present the real picture of the evil because there is no record of those sports persons who get the banned stimulants on the counters and those who evade tests which are rarely done at the state and national level and those who successfully befool the organizers.

Reason behind the increased use of the banned drugs can be attributed to the fact that potentiality of a person can be augmented by increasing the circulation of oxygen in blood. This is very important for physical performance by sports person who require staying power which depends upon the body’s energy metabolism and requires intense efforts and varying sources of energy. After long lasting and intense physical exertion glycogen reserves must be maintain and restored.

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Special nutritional energy and drugs are then required to modify the metabolic process. It can also be achieved by altitude training, self transfusion and glucocordicoids when the aim is to increase strength and muscular power and improve technique, protein, natural or synthetic anabolic agents are frequently used in combination with hyper protein diets and muscle building exercises. The deficiency between the increase in muscle mass and loss of fat mass can be maintained by growth hormones associated with amino acids or other drugs with anabolic properties or with nutritional supplements.

To avoid fatigue and to enable the body to reach the utmost limits, the sport persons can use antalgies, cardio-respiratory analeptics, central nervous system stimulants several of which are strong anti-depressants and stimulants. In sports where body feature or size, whether tall or short are important such as in body building , shape of the body can be modified by hormonal manipulation. Various drugs are used to fight stress, facilitate sleep, and maintain good physical features, such as benzocliapine derivatives and amphetamines cannabinoids alcohol or beta-blockers.

According to Shri Amal Dutta, a football coach “sports have turned into business and have become source of living for many of them”. They take risk for quick success, medals, money, jobs and name and fame. Some of them lack self-confidence and resort to unfair means while some are simply ignorant for whom trainer’s words are gospel. Hence awareness programme is required not only for sports persons but for trainers as well. Some of the banned substances are-narcotics and strong analgesic; painkillers such as morphine, stimulants like caffeine, ephedrine, amphetamines and cocaine; diriretics and local anesthetics and cortico-steroids, alcohol, merijiana and some cold and cough medicines. The World Anti-Dopping Agency has decided to remove caffeine and pseudoephedrine from the list of banned substance for internal sports and to add madafinil to the list of banned substances.

Methods of doping include blood doping; pharmacological, chemical or physical manipulation, manipulation such as drinking lot of water or taking probenecid before the tests to dilute the effect of the banned substance. Some drugs are easily detectable while some are difficult to detect. Detection techniques are more or less similar in laboratories all over the world. Blood and urine samples are collected to be tested for the banned substance whether these persons within permissible limits or are in excess.

There have been instances where winners of gold medal in the Olympics were deprived of their medals when they tested positive for the prohibited drug. In last Asian games Sunita Rani of India had won gold medals in women’s 1500 meter and the bronze in 5000 meter race. She established a new Asian Games record in 1500 meter race with timing of 4: 06: 03 sec beating the previous record of 4: 12: 48 sec which stood in the name of China’s Qu Yunxia Hiroshima in 1994. But Sunita Rani’s urine samples taken after 1500 and 5000 meter race tested positive for nandrolone, a banned steroid. An appeal against the tests was made which was accepted. But the level of banned steroid was found to be above the prescribed limits. Sunita Rani was stripped off her medals.

Never the less in this case the two samples taken at different time showed different concentration leading to suspicion on the testing results or in other words in testing procedure. Sunita Rani throughout maintained that she had not taken any banned substance and so did her doctor. The matter was referred to the Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee which cleared her of doping charges. The Amateur Atheltic Federation of India strongly defended Sunita Rani who had cleared dope tests in New Delhi before leaving for Busan. The Central Govt. of India instituted a high level inquiry headed by sports secretary Shri S. S. Sharma to enquire into the doping charges.

The Amateur Athletic Federation of India had already adsolved Sunita Rani of doping charges and decided to refer the matter to the world athlete body to seek justice for the athlete. The report of the Asian Games Laboratory was challenged since there were major discrepancies in the test results. Ultimately the International Olympic Committee reported that certain discrepancies in the testing procedure in the dope laboratory of Seoul were detected. Sunita Rani was cleared of the doping charges and medals have been restored to her. It is for the first time in the history of Asian Games that medals once forfeited on doping charges have been returned to an athelete.

It would be in the interest of the sports and sport person to publicise a list of the banned drugs and create awareness among the sport persons. Atheletes must be provided medical services to monitor their diet and training. The use of contra banned drugs may prove fatal and may also cause morphological deformities. There is also a need to institute measures to avoid use of banned drugs and lay down stringent punishment to users. Facilitators and agencies responsible for testing.

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