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Wed Apr 23 12:31:09 SAST 2014

SA athletes warned about doping

Sapa | 23 June, 2012 13:510 Comments
General view of the start during the 2012 Comrades Marathon on June 03, 2012 in South Africa..The 2012 Comrades Marathon is starting at the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg and finishing at the Sahara Kingsmead Cricket Stadium in Durban
Image by: Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images

The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Said) on Saturday said the implementation of new blood tests was making it easier to detect designer drugs in doping athletes.

Following the recent high profile doping cases, the Institute’s CEO, Khalid Galant, was warning athletes that competing with a “win at all costs” attitude will now be riskier than ever for drug cheats.   He said advances had been made in what could be detected with new testing methods which would control doping in sport.

“We have ironed out the kinks in the operational chain as it pertains to blood testing and we will be doing more sophisticated blood tests.

“These tests will involve developing a blood profile of the athlete over a period of time which will be analysed with statistical software to predict what the athlete’s profile should look like,” said Galant.

“Any abnormalities are analysed within this context so that we can determine if artificial manipulation through doping has occurred.”  Galant said the tests would also be able to detect designer drugs.

“We are not testing for the presence of the drug in the blood [designer drugs are specifically designed to elude being picked up as part of normal testing].” 

Galant said that in blood doping, athletes tried to increase the oxygen carrying capacity (producing more red blood cells) of their body so that their endurance capacity could increase.   It also appeared that doping cases were on the rise in South Africa.

“Our SA doping control statistics show the use of performance enhancing drugs is on the increase and our latest positive doping figures just released for the period 1 April 2011 to end March 2012 reveal a 19% increase in doping, with 39 positive tests compared to 33 cases last year.” 

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