2013/05/20

Is doping in sport systemic?

I recently read a post about "Systemic Lawlessness in South Africa". In the article Isamail (the author) suggests a definition of a systemic problem as "A problem is systemic when it occurs in more than one place almost simultaneously". This mornings Cape Times ran the story about the Two Oceans marathon winner who tested positive for steroids. A cycling friend, tongue in cheek like, referred his followers on twitter to the story on IOL with his own comment "those pesky doping cyclists..." knowing full well that another sporting discipline was involved.

There is obviously a precedent has been set by us "pesky cyclists" and this cannot be denied, but we are awfully naive to believe that cycling alone is complicit in the emerging doping scandal. No, definitely not. But it is easier to ignore the fact that doping is rife in most professional sporting disciplines.

In another tweet on Friday from a well known triathlete, she mentioned that she has not been tested in months.

As mentioned in previous posts on the subject we know that Drug Free Sport in South Africa operate on a limited budget. Athletes by far out number the available, qualified testers. SAID's is based in Cape Town while the many athletes under their jurisdiction are geographically spread across the entire country which makes testing more expensive and prohibitive in some cases. The biological passports of many cyclists are bare and this by implication means that there are no blood passport trends to speak of and most sporting disciplines have yet to adopt similar systems to track  wayward competitors.

So either we don't take it seriously enough to fund our anti-doping or, more insidiously, we really don't want to fund them sufficiently in case they bring down the whole house of cards.

You be the judge...
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