Doping: The dark side of sports

Yesterday an Independent Tribunal appointed under Article 8.1 of the 2016 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (the “Programme”) has found that tennis player Maria Sharapova committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme and as a consequence has disqualified the affected results and imposed a period of ineligibility of two years, commencing on 26 January 2016.

Sharapova who once enjoyed the tag of being the richest tennis star with both her on field and off field accomplishments has now being sidelined for two years barred from participating in tennis events after she herself admitted to using Meldonium, a drug she said she had been taking since 2006 but was banned in 2016 for being a performance enhancing substance.

Whenever any sportsperson is caught in doping scandal it not only hampers the image of the person but also the sport.All the years of hard work, accolades are all put to shame you fall from being the best to being a cheat. Things that you had achieved even without doping are looked with suspicion. Its such a shame to see players who were once idols being caught up in the doping scandals. Sharapova is just one of the many who have been caught with doping charges and have faced even worse outcomes.

The list includes cyclist Lance Armstrong, the man who defined Tour de France a cancer survivor who battled cancer and won the competition again, a role model for millions including myself for his ability to defy the odds and come back strong he became the most vocal voice for fight against cancer Livestrong Armstrong became his nick name.

But when his name came up in doping it was like a he was all myth nothing substance he cheated used short cuts the US anti doping agency accused him of being a “serial” cheater who ran “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.

Another star was U.S. sprinter Marion Jones who won three gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. She lost them years later after admitting to using steroids. She was infact sent to prison in 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas, after having lied to federal investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs. She served six months. An end like this no one ever saw coming.

The list goes on and includes other people who have admitted or were caught and there are still many who have managed to survive by not coming out.

Who should one blame for this

For doping definitely hurts the credibility of sports and when players are not caught in time it hampers genuine players who have worked hard. Scrapping a title after 10 years and awarding it to the runners up is not the same as actual winning. Players who indulge in all this deserve severe punishment. Sharapova was honest enough to come up in time and admit it her courage to come out clean is worth appreciating and that might have also helped her in a favorable verdict.

One must question WADA here for failing to do enough research and its only when athletes come out then they realize that cheating had taken place.

Given its easy to take WADA for a ride some players have the incentive to cheat and if they are not caught they might well as win and end up being successful. However not all sports person are cheat a lot of them are ill advised by their medical teams and end up taking substances, here again given that WADA is not up to date its becomes a tricky situation.

Lastly the pressure to perform to live up to the expectations to recover from the injuries all these are equally responsible for players taking performance enhancing drugs.

Being out of game injured is not easy and when you don’t have a recovery timeline its becomes frustrating. In case of Sharapova as well she had started to use the drug during her injury days.

But anyhow be it WADA or injuries nothing justifies cheating whether intentional or unintentional, players should be punished for it to set up the right precedence for others as well as the coming generation that there is no short cut to success if you want to be the best only hard work and dedication towards it will make you reach there.

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