The Effects of Doping in Sports

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In the recent years, cases of doping in almost all sports have hit the headlines of many dailies. The high prevalence of drugging in sports have prompted even those who were initially resistant to begin considering using it. Doping is a dangerous practice. It puts the health of victims at risk. Besides, it jeopardizes the integrity of sports. Moreover, persistent use of drugs among senior professionals may prompt young sportspeople to start using them. Therefore, it is the argument of this paper that every sports agencies should not allow doping and implement effective mechanism to keep the practice under control.

Doping involves the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs or substances to boost a person’s performance during sporting competitions. The sports fraternity considers the use of such substances unethical and therefore has placed ban on them. The use of specific substances to enhance performance during games has had a long history, dating back to around 774 B.C. Greek and Roman athletes employed the use of varied mixtures of herbs and wine to improve their endurance, speed, and to minimize pains (Baron et al., 54-59). Moreover, individual players and couches developed their unique formulas for mixing the substances. However, few of these instances attracted legal attention. In the recent decades, the rampant use of doping substances has caused sports agencies to monitor their use to ensure fair competition. Furthermore, the range of such substances and the techniques of using them has broadened. The world’s athletic body (IAAF) became the fast agency to ban doping in 1928. The governing body for world cycling became the first agency to introduce testing procedures for the practice.

The World Ant-Doping Agency (WADA) provides the list of banned substances. Substances in this list fall under different categories: anabolic agents, glucocorticosteroids, hormones and hormone-related constituents, beta-2 agonists, cannabinoids, and stimulants. Anabolic steroids and stimulants compose the largest category of these substances and are the most popular of the doping substances. Steroids enable a person to build body muscles, train harder, and recover faster in case of an accident. A stimulant is a substance that is capable of increasing the activities of the body.  Stimulants usually cause the central nervous system (CNS) to control the functionality and behavior of a person. They stimulate an individual’s sense of excitement while lowering fatigue. Examples of such substances include cocaine, caffeine, modafinil, and amphetamine. Masking agents (diuretics) enable the body to eliminate fluids and find applications in horse racing and boxing. Athletes use cannabinoids to lessen pain. Other categories have found use in

Doping is a dangerous exercise that has attracted international condemnation. It offers some athletes unfair advantages over others and therefore degrades the essence of sports. As a result, some sportsmen have been barred from participating while others have had their medals and certificates revoked. Besides, it damages the reputations of victims (Lauing). In addition to violation of the spirit of sports, doping poses health threats to users. For instance, androgenic agents may cause kidney complications and heighten the level of agitation of an individual. Furthermore, they may cause low sperm counts, deepening voices in females, baldness, and increased hair on the face. Stimulants are highly addictive. They may also cause heart failure. The doping of blood may cause kidney and heart failures (La Gerche, and Maria 89-99).

The agency also outlines some of the techniques that perpetrators use. Some of these methods include enhancement of oxygen transfer, chemical and physical modifications, and gene drugging. In some specific sports such as billiard and archery, WADA prohibits the consumption of alcohol. The extent of doping varies across the individual sports. A 2014 release by WADA reveals that Russian athletes have the most instances of violations of ant-doping rules. Italy and India come second and third respectively. Field and track athletics constitute the categories of disciplines with the highest number of doping cases.

Currently, doping is a global issue. There have been attempts to curb the practice especially by the International Olympic Committee and other sports federations. Anti-doping efforts encompass testing, bans, education, and supportive programs. Despite the many efforts, a doping-free environment still eludes the sports sector. Several factors makes the fight against doping complicated. First, the list of substances that the agency has banned is very long. Usually, it is not easy to carry out testing procedures for all of them. Second, the process of carrying out these tests is expensive. Besides, the number of testing centers is limited. In addition to these complications, the evolution of new techniques that are difficult to detect impedes these efforts greatly. Furthermore, corruption among some doping agencies.

In summary, doping, the practice of using banned substances to enhance performance in sports has is global issue and has gained wide acceptance among many sports. There exist a broad range of drugs and techniques that victims have used to administer these drugs. Doping lowers integrity of sports. Furthermore, it contributes to serious health complications. Despite the efforts by anti-doping agencies to curb the practice, it still continues in many parts around the world. Hence, there exists a need for relevant authorities to device mechanisms that may assist them in implementing ant-doping policies.


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