Medical doping: drug use in sports

Despite medical doping continuing prevalence, it is becoming harder and harder to get away with doping. WADA are developing increasingly sophisticated tests and using them to retest hundreds of samples to catch drug cheats who had previously been able to evade positive tests. However, scientists are finding new ways to assist athletes who still are willing to cheat. In the future we are likely to hear more about increasingly sophisticated scientific methods of doping, such as gene doping (gene therapy to improve athletic performance) and neurodoping (stimulating the brain to decrease the pain response), to enhance performance. These will further blur the lines between those methods that are acceptable in sport and those that are not.

Medical doping: Assessing attitudes to drug use

Initially, the issues of doping in sport and drug use in sport seem to be clear that both are wrong. WADA should severely punish the offenders, if not banning them for life. The fact that some drugs are legal in sport, some are legal under certain conditions (e.g. TUEs) and some that were legal are no longer legal (e.g. melodonium) makes one realize that there are grey areas.
It would be difficult to sustain an argument that the use of drugs makes sport fairer. The view that the use of drugs simply allows athletes with much to gain or lose. In addition ,to ‘compete on a level playing field’ needs a little more examination. However, some will see the use of drugs as no different from balancing other inequalities. We are all aware how athletes from the UK have benefited from state.  National lottery which started in 1997 raised the money to fund the sports. This funding of athletes and teams has helped to contribute to record medal hauls at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

UK sports perspective

From the UK perspective , our sports authorities have found success in the long run through completely legal means. On the other hand, Russian sports authorities have, by contrast, used illegal and unfair methods to seek success quickly. However, before we allow ourselves to become too righteous about our achievements, it would be interesting to ask athletes from poorer countries their opinon. That is ,athletes who don’t receive state funding, whether they feel it is fair that, between 2013 and 2017, UK Olympic and Paralympic athletes received £350 million from public funds to help with their training. Athletes faced with these inequalities may feel justified in finding other ways to make sport fairer.

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