By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, August 7, 2012
For athletes who spent hours of intense training, the mere suspicion of doping is an unfolding nightmare than can derail them from success. Once doping allegations are made public, athletes are under the pressure of tests, not to mention the media hype avid of scoops and scandals.
In the most prominent international sporting events like the Olympic Games, the pressure to outperform other competitors, the desire to break new records and the lure of gold push sportsmen and sportswomen to look for shortcuts to success.
Knowing that the human body has its own limitations and physical strength, some athletes may resort to a wide range of performance enhancers that give them an unfair advantage over their competitors.
The most popular doping technique and by far the least detectable remains the injection of Erythropoietin (EPO). Produced in normal conditions by the liver and kidney tissues, EPO stimulates the production of red blood cells that are in charge of transporting oxygen to the brain and other organs.
EPO is, however, used in endurance sports through injections that increase considerably the oxygenated blood and thus delays fatigue and enhances endurance. Anabolic steroids are also highly sought-after among athletes who look for time and effort saving strategies. These hormones have the ability to increase muscles mass, as well as physical strength. They are notably used in bodybuilding to boost physique.
Everyone can recall the doping scandal that shook the Tour de France in 1998. The whole Festina cycling team was ejected from the race for taking anabolic steroids. These performance enhancers were given to them by the team masseur. Marion Jones, the famous American track and field star admitted in a tearful apology statement that she lied during the investigation about doping accusations and admitted taking steroids.
The London 2012 Olympics brings once again doping cases to the limelight. Allegations have been hanging over the Chinese swimmer “Ye Shiwen” who smashed the world record by winning gold in the 400-meter individual medley final. Onlookers were stunned by the 16 year old world champion outstanding performance. “Ye” told the press “My achievements derive from diligence and hard work, I will never use drugs. Chinese athletes are clean ». Indeed, ye’s name was cleared after the results of doping tests revealed she is clean.
In the case of Moroccan athlete Mariam Aloui Salsouli solace has not come yet. The Moroccan athlete is still under doping allegations. Mohammed Nouri, a member of the Moroccan athletic federation confirmed in an interview with Al Massae that “Selsouli declared that she has never taken deliberately any performance enhancers drugs”. Nevertheless, she confirms that she received an injection by her treating physician after she fainted before her participation in the Paris meeting.
Nouri adds that the rules of the International Association of Athleticism Federations ( IAAF), the international governing body for athletics, stipulates that athletes are not usually held accountable for doping if they were injected this kind of drugs in a state of unconsciousness. Meanwhile, Selsouli is still waiting for the IAAF verdict.
The deception was greater with high profile Moroccan Marathon runner Abderrahim Goumri who was suspended by the Moroccan athletic federation after doping allegations proved to be true. Goumri was banned for four years by the Moroccan Athletic Federation until March 2016, but the IAAF said that “the penalty is not final under IAAF rules and can still be appealed by the athlete”. In all these scandals, the crowds’ admiration for their sport idols turned swiftly into a great deception.
Competition in professional sport is far from being a recreational activity; it is a relentless race to outperform other competitors. Competition excludes cooperation since the parties involved often strive for a goal that cannot be shared. In sports where endurance is a key asset, athletes may not always rely on their natural potential. Caught in this infernal cycle, they may even risk their physical health for the sake of records and titles.
In fact, the side effects of doping range from kidney damage and strokes to death especially. The sudden death of young athletes like the Cuban runner Chelimo raised suspicions about the risks of doping though it remains extremely intricate to distinguish between a natural death and the one caused by performance enhancers.
Another dimension of the problem is purely ethical. It is well known that doping is ethically incorrect since it contravenes the soul of sport. Doping gives an unfair advantage to those who ingest drugs. Thus, doping practices undermine considerably the spirit of fair competition and equality of opportunities.
There are many practices that undermine the soul of sport. Match fixing for instance is considered as a flagrant violation of the spirit of sport and of the law. The fans are often deceived when players play matches to a predetermined result. Revelations of match fixing in Sumo wrestling in 2011 was a fatal blow to the reputation of this ancestral Nippon sport.
When sport shifts from being a recreational activity to a lucrative business where colossal sums of money and interests are at stake, the soul of sport is prone to corruption and decadence. Nevertheless, sport competitions need to be monitored closely by national and international organizations. Clean competition in sport and in all walks of life has the power to instill moral values like hard work and honesty in society.
© 2012 Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved