Drugs destroy sport fairness

It is disturbing that some of the biggest stories in sport over the past few months have all involved drugs.

This common denominator is as large in the community in general as it is in the various sporting codes here and abroad.

It truly is a sad and worrying state of affairs.

The latest controversy involving some of Australia’s elite male swimmers which emerged late last week, while not a serious as the doping scandals which have rocked sport, can not be dismissed as a simple misguided prank.

Their use of the banned sedative Stilnox in a cocktail of high energy drinks is much more than a lapse in discipline.

While Stilnox is not a performance enhancing drug it has been banned by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) because of its desire to have a clean Australian team which performs on ability and nothing else.

Combining a sleeping medication  with a caffeine-laced energy drink suggests the accused were looking for much more from the concoction. And there is the real problem.

The wild ride which the swimmers embarked on, under any circumstances, is unsatisfactory behaviour which is in defiance of the AOC’s code of conduct.

A few weeks ago, it was some of the country’s elite Aussie Rules and Rugby League clubs which were in the spotlight for the use of peptides. And the world is still coming to terms with the Lance Armstrong scandal which will go down in history as one of sport’s biggest scandals.

The links between drug-taking and banned substances is so common these days it ponders the question whether clean sport exists anymore at the highest levels.

Sports administrators at all levels, the AOC and ancillary agencies, must all act to quell the appetite to use drugs of any sort in sport.

The contradiction of sport being a healthy pursuit and the use of drugs to enhance performance, regardless of whether the substances are illegal or not, destroys the notion of fair competition and the value of physical and mental exercise.

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