Monday, November 20The Voice of London

Should there be drug testing for grassroot amateur athletes?

Amateur athletes are neglected when it comes to drug testing, and are not monitored opposed to their professional counterparts

Reporter: Alex Zendra | Subbed: Sajid Hassan

Drug testing in professional sporting industries is mandatory, but for amateur athletes such as runners, sprinters and boxers testing is non-existent below Olympic level competition.

The United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) focus their efforts mainly on Olympic sporting competition. In Amateur boxing in England and the UK there are no mandatory drug tests carried out to its athletes.

Speaking exclusively to Voice of London, Gordon Valentine, the National Compliance manager for England Boxing, said: “UK anti-doping tend to put all their resources into elite and professional boxing … Due to resource issue testing at a domestic level, is virtually nonexistent”.

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Even in national championships athletes are not tested, before or after (left).

This means there are no tests or monitoring of boxers in the top 10 of their respective division. Apart from those on Team GB who will be tested, Mr. Valentine has confirmed, as of when they encounter in Olympic level competition.

He also said: “that does not exclude us as they also do ‘intelligence lead’ testing if and when the existence of quality information is available”. Therefore, drug testing administered from UKAD is only issued when there is suspicion and enough evidence e.g. “quality of information” to give UKAD necessary reason to carry out a drug test to those under scrutiny.

However, Gordon Valentine mentioned there are plans of intervention for this issue designed by the national governing body. “There may be an introduction of England Boxing sponsored testing in the near future”. Hopefully England Boxing will give significance to their grass roots and elite boxers to ensure the health of their athletes.

Speaking to Voice of London, Sprinter Christopher Neto, 20, said to us: “The anti-doping system is dead … I could take drugs now and no one would know, like athletes would take drugs in winter because there are no competitions at this time”.

“But in summer time the drugs may have cleared in their system but will still affect performance, you would never know. But when I was in Turkey, some athletes were randomly tested, but you could never know if they were taking anything.”

The fear is in the unpaid disciplines there are some athletes taking performance enhancing drugs in order to boost their progress, at the detriment to clean athletes.

Michael Banbula: was suspended  from The British Boxing Board of Control, for two years due to PED’s, he is regarded as a lower level domestic fighter, but UKAD carried out tests in this context. He has not made a return since.

Why should this not be the case with lower level domestic amateur boxers?

The former heavyweight champion of the world- Wladimir Kiltischko, 40, delivered his opinion on drugs in sport when talking to Behind the Gloves in an interview:

“I’m completely against any doping, this is not running, cycling or lifting the weights, this is something where you can damage the person’s health, or kill a person, unfortunately.”

“People that use supplements to improve performance can damage the health of the other person or can damage their own health.”

Among professional disciplines it’s common, but amateurs are not monitored. This worry is also emphasised as performance enhancing drugs are becoming more intelligently used by athletes today. In any case, accepted cheating in a sport at any level should never go ‘unnoticed’ and the culprits should be made known.

 

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