Sports medicines and doping in Indian games

The author has mentioned the history of the word doping and where this word came from with the history of use of sports medicine. This article contains the international organizations which are working against doping like WADA, NADA, NDTL, etc. Author has also mentioned the reasons of doping in sports in India which happened recently.

The urge to lead all and to attain name and fame is the human most burning desire. To fulfill his desire in any circumstances makes the person take a wrong path. This is what is happening in the present day games where the sportspersons are consuming drugs and other stimulators to enhance their physical power and lead the medal tally. All this illegal consumption of drugs and other means to attain extra stimulation for artificial power is called a 'Dope'.

Dope word history

This word came from Africa where the Kaffir tribe used a primitive alcoholic drink during the religious ceremonies. Some others say that this was an alcoholic drink used by the Zulu warriors made from the grape skin and cola beverage as a stimulant. In West Africa the Cola was commonly used in the events of walking and running. 'Dope' word was first described by the Dutch colonists for any stimulant beverage and in 1786 'Dope' word was introduced in the English dictionary.

Doping is also related to the Norwegian Mythology where the use of strengthening substances was common by the Berserkers. Bufotenin was used to enhance physical performance and strength. Source of Bufotenin is the skin of toads and also Amanita mushrooms.

Doping is also related to the oldest civilization of the world the Greece of the Antique. Athletes were given nutritional ingredients to enhance their performance through the stimulation of physical power. It is also reported that the athletes prior to the games ate various kind of meat and testis to gain more physical power and this all is related to the word doping.

Doping in sports has been common since BC

In the Third Century BC the doctors helped the athletes to gain more of artificial power which was provided by the use of analgesic properties in special baked bread. Thus the first doping was carried in the Olympic Games of the Third Century BC. In the First Century BC the runner of the Greece were consuming an herbal drink to increase their power and to perform better. The secret use of the doping drugs was centered to the high society of the Kings and thus none is aware about the major ingredients of that time.

Doping was not only for the humans but also for the animals which were the part of the games. In Rome the chariot racer fed their horses with some secret drink or diet to make them run faster. Even the Gladiators are said to use the doping drugs.

Doping in sports become more common in the 19th Century

Doping became more popular in the 19th century. It was brought to light when a swimmer in 1865 at an event in Amsterdam canal was found positive of a drug which has enhanced his physical power. Mixture of Caffeine used for doping by the French and alcohol by others in the 6 day cycling race in 1867. It was in 1896 when cyclist A Linton died of being ephedrine dopey during the race Paris-Bordeaux.

The earlier years of the 20th Century made doping more common. In 1904 Tom Hicks won the race at St. Louis marathon and collapsed. Doctors proved that Tom has consumed cognac just before the race. But the first ever reported case was in 1910 when James Jeffries claimed that Jack Johnson's tea was doped with something to defeat him. This made coming of more news from the boxing world. In 1952 at the Oslo ice skating games the locker of the athletes were raided to surprise of syringes and ampoules present in there. The second half the 20th Century made the word 'Dope' more common and during the Olympic Games at Rome in 1960, Danish cyclist K. Jenson died consuming amphetamines. Doping was more common among the cyclist as Tom Simpson of Britain died of being doped by amphetamies, Dick Howard died of heroin overdose. The German boxer Jupp Elze died of amphetamine-cocktail.

Doping in sports slowly penetrated into other segments of sports and in 1976 Olympic Games at Montreal Z. Kaczmarek and V Khristov were deprived of their gold medals found positive of doping. The news of Ben Johnson during the Seoul Olympic was the most carried one when he won the 100 meter sprint with the best recorded time ever. Ben Johnson was doped with a banned anabolic steroid (Stanozolol) and was stripped of his Gold medal and suspended for two years.

Doping in sports a common struggle of countries

It is not only the athletes who are found positive of doping but doping has penetrated into every segment of the sports. Player of the games like, shooting, and volleyball are also found to be doped by some or the other banned drug during the international events. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is a body which has been releasing the yearly updates regarding the banned drugs is taking stern measures to curb doping problem.

China has been fighting extensively against doping and this was the only reason that none of its athlete was caught in anti-doping test at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Doping becoming more common forcing India to invest $20,000 to the International Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sports a body developed by the UNESCO. This was on the eve of the XIX Commonwealth Games which were held in India. There are 105 countries signatories to the convention of International Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sports.

Sports medicines leading to Doping in India

12 leading Indian athletes have been found positive of doping. This episode has raised many questions which have many reasons behind. None of the National Sports Federations (NSFs) or Sports Authority of India (SAI) has the list issued by WADA regarding the banned drugs. Height of the fact is that at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala a chemist is selling all the banned and prohibited drugs just outside the gate of this national office. Anyone can buy any banned drug without prescription from a regular medical practitioner. The schedule 'H' drug is being sold openly. Steroid Stanolozol is available for Rs. 30 only for the strip of 10 capsules. The other drugs which are easily available are Decadurabalin, Decadac 25, Menaobol and few other steroids. This medical shop Preet Medical Store is situated at the gate of NIS in the commercial district of Patiala city.

Sports medicines and doping in India sports: the arguments

The case of doping came to light when two weightlifters were found to be positive in an anti-doping test conducted on them in Bangalore at a camp. This test was conducted by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on Om Prakash and Anuj Kumar. Om Prakash was found positive for methandienone and Anuj Kumar was positive with the combination of methandienone and nandrolone. Both have been withdrawn from the camp.

According to one of the Indian wrestler none of the wrestler has been randomly tested for doping in past eight months. The working of the NIS, NFS and SAI is not satisfactory. The athletes argue that they have never been educated on what substances they should avoid to remain clean. It is the duty of the sports federations and other related bodies to pass on the list of the banned substances by the WADA and also a ruling of WADA for random Dope testing on the athletes. To much surprise according to one wrestler the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) did not ask the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) to conduct a random dope tests on the athletes even when the Commonwealth Games were just two months away. Further shockingly the wrestler told that some of the coaches encouraged doping, he further added he is not having proves to second his statement but he has over heard the coaches saying so to their wards. Mr. Kartar Singh has denied the allegation on WFI. He further added that the doctors of SAI have been educating the players on the demerits of doping regularly. He has transferred all the responsibility on the wrestlers saying that it is their duty to keep well informed about the banned drugs and other developments in doping.

Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) had to pay $ 500,000 as fine to the world body in order to escape ban. The reason behind was that many weightlifters were found to be positive in an anti-doping test conducted on them. Mr. Karnam Malleswari the IWF Vice President reported that the federation has conducted lectures on doping at the senior nationals in Udaipur in Februray 2011 and this was done on every day basis. Thus to accuse the federations and other sports bodies is not right on the part of the sportspersons. India has gained notoriety in this area on the misdeeds of the weightlifters.

The Swimming Federation of India (SFI) is blaming the sportspersons for their positive tests. The swimmers were tested positive for methylhexanamine. According to Mr. Virendra Nanavati also it is the moral duty of the swimmer to have the knowledge of the banned drug and if he/she is taking any drug they should check it not to be place under ban by WADA. He further added that the list of the banned drugs have been provided to the swimmers. He also said that they are neither scientist nor doctors who can test the swimmers for doping. 39 swimmers were had the anti-doping test and only three were found to be positive at Jaipur.

The NDTL and WADA accredited laboratories are the best anti-doping laboratories in the world but still the National Sports Federation has never approached them to conduct anti-doping tests. It is the phenomenon all over the world that athletes and coaches are educated by the respective federations regarding the ban drugs by WADA, but this is just not happening in India.

An official of SAI shielding the authority said that they have shortage of the doctors who can educate the athletes on the ban drugs. The sport medical experts are only specialized in injury and physiotherapy to help the athlete recover fast.

Trying to shield the federations and the other government bodies the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Mr. Lalit Bhanot said the doping is only because of the swimmers and none other is responsible for this shame to the nation. He added further that none of the officials can be with the player for 24 hours and what they do after leaving the place is only known to them.

Here a question arises that when the athletes have proved to be the best in Asia in the Commonwealth and Asian Games then what was the need for them to use the banned drugs in the inter-state meets. All the athletes have proved to be the best then why would they jeopardize their career knowingly! They are very cautious on taking simple things like water, consuming water from the bottle after breaking the seal of the bottle all by themselves. One player said that when we take a water bottle we squeeze it to make sure that there is no leakage as some one might inject the bottle to dope you.

Were the athletes at the National camp in Patiala or the inter-state meet not at cautious? The positive dope test proves that the East European and Central Asian coaches are not encouraging their wards but the most of the athletes found positive in the anti-doping test are under the training of Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogorodnik. Six out of the eight athletes found positive after the anti-doping test to have consumed anabolic steroids are from Yuri's camp. Yuri has been removed by the federation. Surprisingly the double-gold medalist Ashwinin Akkunji from the Asian Games in 400 meter race and her teammates Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose has been accused for doping.

This Sports Minister Mr. Ajay Makhan said, "No one will be spared in bringing shame to the nation. The Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogorodnik has been suspended and an inquiry will be conducted by a Retired High Court Judge in the doping incident, bringing out the reasons which lead to shameful act".

The minister further added that significant steps will be taken to:
To conduct dope test frequently,
To track the import of smuggling of the banned food supplements/drugs,
To track the drugs and its suppliers in and around the campus and training centers,
To regularly provide counseling to the player on the list provided by WADA on banned drugs,
To keep vigil on the coaches, doctors and the supporting staff,
Surprise searches of the rooms of the player, coaches and the support staff.
If these directions of the Minister of Sports are now being issued then it is deemed that there is something fishy in the camps and offices of sports federations and sports authorities of India which lead to the shameful incident of doping.

How to fight the doping problem

There are many ways which can help in keeping the vigil on the sportspersons and prevent them from this evil of doping:
The sportspersons should be counseled regularly regarding the demerits of use of medicines is sports.
List of the banned sports medicine and doping substance issued by WADA should be provided to the sportspersons personally after being received duly. In case the sportsperson cannot understand he/she should be counseled for the same. This list of banned sports medicine and drugs should be provided in English, Hindi and the regional language of the sportsperson.
Regular medical examination of the sportspersons should be conducted by the sports federations and national sports authorities and advice the sportspersons regarding the diet and exercises to enhance their physical strength.
Sportspersons should be kept under strict vigil in the camps.
The locker areas and the places deemed to be sensitive must have hidden cameras installed for monitoring on the use of any sports medicines or suspected material.
The sports authority officials should also be kept under regular scanning.
Monthly reports by the doctors of the sports federations and national sports authorities should be called for regarding the sportspersons.
Entry to the sports authority offices and sports camps should not be free for all. The entry should have proper scanning which can detect any suspicious sports medicine or doping substance being carried inside.
Stern actions should be taken against the person who is found doped or carrying any banned sports medicine should be punished severely.
Regular and surprise raids should be conducted on the chemist shops and other related drug suppliers for possessing any banned sports medicine.

Sports medicine and doping substances listed by WADA as banned

Stimulants including optical isomers are prohibited.
Some of the narcotics are prohibited exempting few.
All types of natural or synthetic cannabinoids are prohibited strictly.
Glucocorticosteroids are prohibited no matter it is administered through any rectal routes—oral, intravenous, intramuscular, etc.
Alcohol is only prohibited during the competition only. The haematological value is 0.10 g/L considered to be violation.
Any anabolic agent is strictly prohibited by WADA.

All the directions about the sports medicine and banned drugs are mentioned clearly on the official website of WADA.

Appeal to the sportspersons of India to avoid use of sports medicine

All the sportspersons are the face value and the sole representatives of the country in any sports meet. Thus we humbly request you not to bring shame to the nation by using the sports medicine or doping drug which can lead to insult.
Sport is worship and while worshiping one has to be pure from outside as well as within. We all believe that:
"The players will never do something on their own to be banned which is similar to commit suicide by a normal person".
Thus don't degrade our emotions for you and always provide us to be proud of you as we are about our country.

All the best! Remember: Sport with sporting.

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