Home / Ukraine / Russian Sport Can Move Forward From Doping Scandal (Op-Ed)

Russian Sport Can Move Forward From Doping Scandal (Op-Ed)

Eduard Bezuglov

In a arise of a Maria Sharapova scandal, as many as 30 Russian athletes have tested certain for meldonium, a drug recently enclosed on a list of taboo substances by a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Their ranks embody distinguished athletes in a operation of sports, from four-time universe swimming champion Yulia Yefimova and European figure skating championship medalist Yekaterina Bobrova to long-time universe speed skating champion Pavel Kulizhnikov, and many others.

This is substantially customarily a beginning. The ax has nonetheless to tumble on members of Russia’s group sports, who customarily bear doping tests in a spring.

The Sports Ministry and Federal Biomedical Agency are not to censure in any approach for all of this. They regularly told doctors and athletes that meldonium had been combined to a list of taboo substances. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency even conducted a special convention on a theme and a site has warned a jaunty village of a imminent anathema given final September.

Team doctors have been physically incompetent to sequence meldonium for their athletes given Oct. 15, and all of them — including myself — perceived minute e-mail communications to that effect.

In fact, 99.9 percent all Russian doctors and athletes knew ideally good that meldonium would be taboo and that a punishment for regulating it would be harsh.

So because is this happening?

There are dual reasons.

The initial can be termed a “Russian roulette syndrome.” As bizarre as it competence seem, a good many Russian athletes believed that given they’d been regulating a drug for years but removing held — never mind that nobody was contrast for it, possibly — they should conduct to pass any destiny tests with equal ease. “And besides,” they argued, “the instructions contend that a physique fast excretes any traces of a drug.”

The second reason: plain superstition. Once an contestant performs good after holding a drug, he unvarying concludes that it was a drug that brought success — not a coach, not his possess talent and tough work and unequivocally not luck. “It was a meldonium, we know it!” And with that low conviction, a contestant goes right on regulating a drug. The irony is that roughly all of his competitors are also regulating it, and any one believes that it will somehow give him that small corner indispensable to win.

That is because many Russian athletes continued holding meldonium right adult until a start of a breach on Jan. 1, 2016, and because some continued even over that.

Of course, this does not meant that all Russian athletes are regulating meldonium. Even German publisher Hajo Zeppelt, who constructed a now-famous and rarely vicious film on doping in Russian sports, found that customarily 17 percent of a samples taken from Russian athletes tested certain for a drug. That means 83 percent of Russia’s tip athletes (other athletes are not subjected to doping tests) did not use meldonium.

But even those total seem inflated. It is famous for a fact that customarily 8.5 percent of all athletes from a former Soviet republics who competed in a initial European Games in Baku in Jun 2015 tested certain for meldonium — of course, 6 months before it was prohibited.

Still, even 8.5 percent is a unequivocally high figure. The Russian jaunty village finds itself in a unequivocally upsetting situation. However, a arriving and unavoidable call of certain exam formula competence even infer helpful.

After all, it competence force WADA to investigate a drug some-more thoroughly, and it competence find that it takes longer than formerly suspicion for traces of meldonium to leave a body. That would let hundreds of trusting athletes off a offshoot who, in all likelihood, unequivocally did stop regulating a drug by Jan. 1. At least, it would be good to trust that they did. It is critical to comprehend that, as of this writing, nobody can contend with certainty how prolonged it takes for traces of meldonium to leave a body.

Almost everybody in a sporting universe understands that a meldonium breach has not helped WADA locate a many critical doping violators, and that a punishments it has enforced are too harsh. Banning an contestant from competitions for 2-4 years for regulating a drug that has not even been proven to raise opening is like throwing someone in jail for 20 years for hidden a pouch of potatoes that competence not even be edible.

Of course, widespread punishments for meldonium use would broach a outrageous blow to Russian sports. It also tarnishes their image. After all, a normal Russian doesn’t know a disproportion between meldonium and, say, steroids. And if it happens that dual members of a singular group exam certain for a drug, officials competence bar a whole group from foe and frame it of a titles.

However, WADA competence alleviate a position — precedents do exist. For example, during a Junior Football Championships in Mexico, roughly all of a players tested certain for Clenbuterol. However, a drug was after found in beef that all of a contest participants had eaten. Although WADA insisted on punishing a offenders, FIFA managed to remonstrate a doping watchdogs that nobody had ingested a drug intentionally and to dump a charges.

If a Russian jaunty village wants WADA to alleviate a stance, it should abstain arguing with a physique or looking for swindling theories. Instead, it should work with WADA to investigate any particular box in hopes of anticipating a reason for a vast series of certain results.

And of course, Russia should urge athletes who stopped regulating meldonium before Jan. 1, holding their cases as distant as a Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland if necessary. The problem is: How to know who unequivocally stopped? Nobody will acknowledge to doping. And ordinarily, if everybody had stopped regulating a drug during a same time, concentrations of meldonium rescued in a samples would be comparatively uniform. However, a concentrations change widely, and that creates it unfit to strech a clear conclusion.

Eduard Bezuglov is a alloy for a Russian inhabitant football team.

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/564786.html