Doping Pandemic

07 Jun 2024 | By Mfundo (Hani) Makanda

Source: Wikipedia

07 Jun 2024 | By Mfundo (Hani) Makanda

Each year, a growing number of professional athletes is getting banned or suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for contravening Anti-Doping Rules (ADR).

Currently, it is not foreign to hear that a distance runner, hurdler, jumper or a sprinter is suspended for failing a drug test.

In South Africa alone, there are more than 17 athletes who are barred (as of 2024) from participating in any internationally recognised athletics event according to the AIU’s Complete list of sanctions for Doping and Non-Doping Violations.

The sentences range from a minimum of 2 years ineligibility to lifetime bans.

Our national athletes such as Luvo Manyonga (Long Jumper) and Simon Magakwe (100m-200m sprinter) are currently serving 3 years and, 7 years ineligibility bans respectively.

These bans have ruined their careers given the limited window that athletes have in the sport of athletics in general.

How long is it going to take athletes to learn that doping is a serious offence that can bring your career into an abrupt halt.

This is so sad because most professional runners are financially dependent on running. Technically, they run to provide for themselves and their families.

What happens when they end up with no income because of doping? Has the AIU raised awareness about the negative consequences of failing drug test? Is the necessary basic education about doping rules provided to professional athletes?

Doping scandals have been happening for decades now in the sport of athletics.

 It is not clear whether professional athletes are just stubborn, and they do not want to learn. Or they use performance enhancing substances on purpose. Who is it to blame at the end?

Early this year, 7 February 2024, the Spanish national champ Mo Kotir was suspended for missing three doping tests in the past year. He is currently serving a two year ban.

More recently, the current 10km (road) world record holder Rhonex Kipruto from Kenya has been given a 6-year ban for anti-doping violation.

The ban will remain until 2029. Another career wasted just like that!

Food for thought:

What can be done to ensure that all athletes are aware of the consequences of using performance enhancing substances?

Is the World Athletics doing enough to educate athletes about legal and illegal drugs or supplements?  

Remote video URL
Preview image for the video remote "Drugs in sport: can science stop the cheats?".