Doping test in Olympics, and other national and international sports events should be abolished. These tests are illogical, unethical and degrading. Olympics objective of CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS (faster, higher and stronger) is put on a back burner. This test is an impediment in achieving the achievable.
Full help of technology is registered in performance maximising. When physics is put to good use, why not use chemistry? It is argued that the use of performance enhancing drugs give an unfair advantage to the user. If the use of these drugs is legitimised, and all are allowed to use them, there will be no unfair advantage to anyone. Unfairness is there in many forms. Does every sportsperson have the means to buy equipment and machinery?
Sportspersons of many countries cannot afford all that. Don't the affluent countries have unfair advantage? There are sports persons who cannot buy essential food items with proper nutrients. Where are equal opportunities for all? Many countries cannot afford expert coaches and the infrastructure required. In the affluent west, there is one coach, one manager, one physician, one dietician and one physiotherapist for each competitor.
Less affluent countries have hardly one set of these experts for an entire team of sportspersons competing in various disciplines. Where is equality? Where is justice?
You cannot obviously have two Olympics, one for rich countries and one for the poor. Equal opportunity is a myth. Doping tests are doing more injustice than justice.
Olympics are a culmination of years of arduous time-consuming training and sweating. Competitors sacrifice their career and their chances in the job-market. Many become over age for public sector jobs. They go to the job-market without technical training. They risk their livelihood and family aspirations. It is heart-breaking to get disqualified for failing in a doping test. It is calamitous. Just because traces of some chemical are found in someone's urine, the fellow is disqualified.
Are the 'banned' chemicals the only chemicals that are performance enhancing?
There may be many herbs, potions and compounds which may be performance enhancing. Many countries have their own herbs, fungi, sea-weeds and potions for this very purpose. They are used and results achieved. I am afraid Chinese herbal potions have done wonders for them. Doping tests cannot detect them. Why depend on such an inconclusive test? Why sacrifice a competitor's years of toil?
Ben Johnson of Canada had broken the world record of 100 metres sprint in an Olympic. His such a great feat was dumped because he failed in doping test. All the disgrace was heaped up Johnson, and Lewis of USA was declared the winner. Lewis walked away with the gold medal and Johnson left unsung. No one shed a tear for him.
Lance Armstrong owned up having won seven French cycling circuits and one Olympic bronze medal with the help of banned drugs. Why was he never caught? It proves unreliability of doping tests.
Another classical example is of American sprint queen Mariam Jones, who won several gold medals for USA. She became a celebrity in the world of sports. USA took pride in her achievements. Praises were showered on her. A few years later, she volunteered the information that she has been taking the banned drugs and her gold medals were won because of those drugs. The poor girl instantly fell from grace. The US press condemned her. She was made to surrender her medals. In one breath, the image of the celebrity rolled in dust. She was dissolved in tears. Here I ask a question. How did the Olympic authorities failed to find doping in her case? Like her, several sports persons may have gone undetected.
Doping test is not able to catch every culprit. Few are caught and punished. Many get scot free and reap the fruits of their achievements. What an injustice to an honest girl! She owned up on her own and suffered indignities and deprivation. Those who are less honest walk away with their bounties and booties.
Moreover, is doping test conducted in all kinds of games? What about a pace bowler in cricket and a grand slam tennis player. Then why subject athletes and swimmers to such a stupid test? And how is this accepted as conclusive? It is conducted by chemical analysis of a sample of urine. The results arrive a few days later. The sports person is allowed to compete and later disqualified if he or she fails the test. It is degrading to ask young boys or girls to give a sample of their urine. I, therefore, strongly feel that the doping tests should be totally abolished.
Doping drugs may be harmful for health. That is sports person's own lookout.
Everybody is a master of his/her own body. One may subject his body to any amount of hardships and harm. Let him / her or his / her coach decide to use banned drugs. Sports organisers need not bother about it. — O. P. Bhatnagar is an ex-principal of Indian School Nizwa (The author is a qualified hockey coach, trained by the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, India)