The U.K. Anti-Doping recently issued provisional suspension of prominent British sprinter Nigel Levine after he failed a drug test. Charged with the violation of an anti-doping rule, the European gold medalist stands prohibited for participating in any athletic event. Nevin, who was a member of the winning Great Britain team in the 4x400m relay at the European Championships in 2014, was reportedly tested positive for the banned asthma drug clenbuterol in December 2017.
The 28-year-old sprinter is recovering from career-threatening injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in 2017. He was hoping to make a comeback, but his suspension led him to falling from grace. He could receive a four-year ban, if found guilty. However, the athlete has the right to appeal against the charge.
Clenbuterol, which is recommended to relieve asthma symptoms, is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) list of banned drugs for being a performance-enhancing substance. Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador was handed a two-year ban after testing positive for the same drug at the 2010 Tour de France. “Clenbuterol is a prohibited substance and there is no threshold under which this substance is not prohibited,” the WADA states. At present, it has no plan to introduce a threshold level for clenbuterol.
Growing incidence of doping in sports
Performance-enhancing drugs to attain more physical and mental strength have always lured athletes across the world since ages. It is believed that athletes have been using drugs to enhance performance since the time of the original Olympic Games (from 776 to 393 BC). The word “doping” is derived from the Dutch word “doop” meaning a viscous opium juice, which used to be the drug of choice of the ancient Greeks.
These drugs, in oral or injectable form, cause an immediate increase in body’s strength and performance during competitions as well as training sessions. The most commonly used performance-enhancing drug categories comprise recovery products, endurance-enhancing blood doping and over-the-counter muscle-building supplements.
Sportspersons under the huge burden of expectations and desperation to perform resort to the shameful act of doping. However, in some cases, banned substances enter players’ system accidently or unknowingly. In any case, it brings a sense of disgrace for both the individual and the nation. Players are expected not to compromise with the ethics of the game and rely on hard work, practice and their natural ability to do well at any level.
According to the WADA code, a substance or method on the WADA Prohibited List must meet at least two of the three designated criteria, including an actual or potential health risk to the athlete; the potential to enhance sport performance; and violation of the spirit of sport.
Hazards of drug use
Misusing drugs have a debilitating effect on an individual’s physical and social well-being. While one should avoid drugs in the first place, people with addiction to any harmful substance should seek voluntary medical attention for better prognosis. Such individuals should visit a reputed rehab as soon as possible to lead a sober life.
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