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From Russia with Blood

The words blood doping are heard more and more lately, so what is blood doping and what can be done about it?


Blood doping has recently demanded widespread public attention due to the fact that more than 1,400 blood samples were destroyed by a Moscow laboratory, despite a World Anti-Doping Agency request to preserve them. Russia have been banned from competing in athletics events in the Rio 2016 Olympics due to state sponsored doping.

After the bans appeal was denied, Russian president Vladimir Putin described the ban as “unjust and unfair”, per the BBC, stating if some of the members of your family have committed a crime, would it be fair to hold all the members of the family liable, including you? That is not how it is done.

 

It Wasn’t Me

There is hope for many Russian athletes claiming to be completely innocent of any wrong doing. The official statement from RT reads:

“If there are any individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country, and subject to other, effective anti-doping systems, including effective drug-testing, then they should be able to apply for permission to compete in International Competitions, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete.”

 

Blood doping what’s that?

Blood doping is the method of boosting the number of red blood cells in the bloodstream. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles, a higher concentration in the blood can improve an athlete’s aerobic capacity and endurance.

 

The Code

To understand the impact that blood doping has upon sport, it is vital to conduct extensive research on what forms of blood doping there are. It is also important to be aware of the most recent World Anti-Doping Code.

This is so that an understanding of why an athlete would choose to blood dope is gained, therefore allowing for effective prevention methods to be put in place. If athlete support personnel are to prevent and discourage blood doping in sport, then it is vital they are clearly informed on set guidelines on what is expected of them, ensuring that all is being done to combat blood doping.

 

Testing

Although blood and urine testing are both deterrents, they alone are not enough. An independent report carried out for the World Anti-Doping Agency found that Russia is not the only country, and athletics is not the only sport, facing the problem of orchestrated doping.

Unannounced testing is an attractive prospect for federations wishing to implement comprehensive blood testing programmes. This would also be vital when it comes to testing athletes in remote training camps inside and outside of competition environments. Monitoring the blood profile of an athlete over a specific duration of time is another possible preventative method that could be used to deter blood doping.

 

Cheats never prosper, right?

Blood doping causes athletes who have dedicated a large part of their life to miss out on success because of immoral athletes who break the World Anti-Doping Code. The BBC reports Russia’s Ministry of Sport said it was “extremely disappointed” by the IAAF decision claiming: 

Clean athletes’ dreams are being destroyed because of the actions of other athletes and officials. They have sacrificed years of their lives striving to compete at the Olympics and now that sacrifice looks likely to be wasted”.

A lack of sympathy for Russia after such a blatant history of blood doping has been exposed.

Blood profiling also provides moral athletes the evidence to clear their name from any dispute. It is clear that Anti Blood Doping methods need to be constantly reviewed and developed, as blood doping is an ever-changing form of cheating.

From Russia with Blood

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