Stop prolonging WADA’s agony: We need sports without politics


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If the world needs fair sport, WADA must cease to exist. The activity of this structure has long been accompanied by scandals, there are many questions to it, and its engagement is no longer in doubt. Of course, control is necessary, but WADA is unable to provide it.

Doping is like stealing. Doping athletes actually steal awards from those who compete fairly. If you look at the situation from this side, then WADA can be considered the patron saint of thieves.

Why is this happening? Unfortunately, any system begins to deteriorate over time. Any idea, no matter how bright it may be, sooner or later collides with the realities of our world. Let’s take a look at what has been done with democracy. It meant the rule of the people, but can any citizen in the United States or Europe say that he has power? In Hong Kong, France or the United States, protests ended with riot police being sent at people. All modern democracy consists in voting every few years for a politician who is alien to the problems of ordinary people. Elites found in this an opportunity to subjugate people, perverting the original idea. Simply put, no one will allow “that guy from the next street” to be elected president. The same thing happens with WADA.

The anti-doping idea has over time acquired many controversial variables. Ultimately, if you have the power to call or hide someone from someone, you’ll want to take advantage of it. For national governments, the victories of their athletes are also political successes. Given this, the politicization of the fight against doping was simply inevitable.

We all remember well the doping scandal in Russia. WADA experts concluded that the database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory transferred to them was edited to hide the results of some doping tests. Presumably, we are talking about 145 cases of violation. As a penalty, WADA suspended Russia from participating in major international competitions for 4 years. There is an important nuance here: in practice, WADA did not prohibit the participation of Russian athletes. It is enough for them to prove that they are not involved in the violations, and it will not be difficult to do this, given that all the evidence of WADA against Russia is indirect. On the other hand, they are prohibited from flying the Russian flag. Thus, the ban turns into a political formality, the purpose of which is to humiliate Moscow.

Of course, the decision could be called fair, because dozens of Russian athletes have nothing to do with doping violations. But a fair question arises: why does WADA not punish other countries with the same zeal?

In December last year, the agency submitted a report on global sports fraud. If you think that Russia was in the first place, you are wrong. She is not even among the top three. Italy took the first place in violations in 2017 (171 cases of doping). The second place went to France (128) and the third to the United States (103). Which of these countries has been banned from participating in the Olympic Games? Maybe Britain is at the epicenter of the scandal by refusing to hand over doping samples to Mo Farah.

“The samples are kept for retesting in the future. But if there is no reliable evidence proving that they contain prohibited substances, we will not give them to extract, “- said at the beginning of the year the head of the British Anti-Doping Agency Nicole Sapstead.

And this is not the only such incident. American swimmer Madison Cox was almost disqualified for 4 years for using trimetazidine. Cox should have said that this was the first time she had heard of this drug so that her period of ineligibility had been reduced. When she said that the doping got into her body with water from the mains, the athlete was acquitted.

No less curious is the case of another athlete from the United States. In 2017, athlete and Olympic champion Gil Roberts was caught using probenecid. It helps to increase physical endurance. In addition, the drug is taken to remove other doping from the body. Roberts said that the girl with whom he kissed the day before was to blame for everything. It is hard to believe that a sufficient amount of the substance can be transferred in this way, but it was this version that became official and Roberts was also acquitted.

“At about 01:00 or 01:30, she went to the kitchen to take her medicine. She didn’t tell Roberts what she was doing, and he didn’t see her take the drug. She opened the capsule, poured the contents into her mouth, then rinsed her mouth out with water. She soon began kissing Roberts. Roberts could not count the number of times they kissed between that moment and the arrival of the doping officer at 4:00, ”read the report of the incident.

The Mail on Sunday investigation can be considered the last straw. As it turned out, at the 2012 Olympics, Britain forced its athletes to use doping, which was not even fully understood. Thanks to ketone, the kingdom then won 29 gold medals. At the same time, the government agency UK Sport required athletes to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Also, athletes were forced to agree that the government excludes all responsibility for the use of ketone esters. Thus, if an athlete tested positive for doping, the blame was entirely assigned to him. There could be no complaints about London, although WADA was aware of what was happening.

After that, how can we talk about the impartiality of the agency responsible for such an important mission in world sports? The most alarming thing is that this is not the limit. Recently, the US Congress ruled that WADA funding will come in one package with USADA, the US National Anti-Doping Agency.

“American taxpayers should receive a tangible return on their investment in WADA in the form of clean sports, fair play, effective governance of the global anti-doping system, and a proportionate voice in WADA’s decision-making,” the US National Drug Policy Office said in a report.

The USA finances WADA in the amount of $ 2.7 million annually. This is the largest contribution among the states. That is, Washington has put the financial well-being of the organization and its employees on the line. The situation looks like sheer blackmail, the goals of which are quite obvious. WADA President Witold Ban’ka agreed with this.

“I do not want to speculate on the discussion of the motives for this step. However, I get the impression that USADA would like to take control of the entire global anti-doping system. This entire report is an attempt to undermine the authority of WADA as a global regulator of the fight against doping, arguing that WADA allegedly does not meet its objectives, ”he said.

Of course, Ban’ka did not take into account the fact that WADA’s authority had been undermined long ago. It is difficult to blame individual countries, including the United States, for this. The problem is not that, for $ 2.7 million, the American authorities wanted the same great loyalty to their interests. The problem is that the WADA leadership could not refuse Washington, London and anyone who pays. The agency betrayed its own ideas, becoming a tool for falsification.

Even if Banka is right, and the United States wants to crush WADA for itself, what will they get? An organization that has completely discredited itself. She no longer has the right to act as a guarantor of fair sports.

“Obviously, if anti-doping rules are to work, they must be evidence-based, based on scientific evidence and following proper procedure,” said Roger Pilke, Jr. of the University of Colorado. “Without good science and real data, everything WADA does is a shady mess.”

Therefore, the best way out of the situation is not reforming, which the agency has been engaged in for several years, but disbanding it. This is the only way to complete the chain of scandals saturated with politics. This is the only way to start creating a new tool for ensuring fair sports. A reliable and truly independent tool you can trust.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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