Doping crackdown


Test showing Kiefer Ravena  positive for taking a substance banned by the world basketball
governing body FIBA is an isolated case. No other PBA  athlete has been found to be taking
such performance-enhancing drugs which are also banned by the World
Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Not yet.

With the Ravena case putting PBA in a bad light, the league wants to come out clean from the issue by considering a more stringent doping test for all its players as recommended by
WADA. There is an existing drug test for PBA players but the substances covered are limited to the party drug ecstasy, marijuana and shabu.

But are PBA players the only  athletes exposed to performance-enhancing drugs? Some lawmakers do not think so, that’s why there is a move to apply the international anti-doping rules to all Filipino athletes, including those competing in the Palarong Pambansa, Universities Athletics Association of the Philippines, National Collegiate Athletics Association and even in the Private Schools Athletic Association and State Colleges and Universities Athletic  Association.

That group has put to task the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher
Education in implementing the International Convention Against Doping in Sport, which the Philippines ratified on March 17, 2010. The initiative is very timely considering the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo is not far away.

It would be more a national shame to have a Filipino athlete disqualified or banned from the Olympics than failing to win the country’s first gold in the most prestigious sporting competition on the planet. And we don’t want to suffer the same fate that befell many Russian athletes when the International Olympic Committee banned them from competing in the Olympics for knowingly or unknowingly participating in a state-sponsored doping program  meant to win gold medals.

Doping tests for athletes would also be aligned with the national campaign against illegal drugs which are victimizing the youth. The goal of a drug-free society cannot be achieved
if there is still abuse of performance-enhancing drugs even by a small number of people like athletes.

Authorities have been proposing to have a random drug test on students but this was met with resistance by some schools, parents and rights groups worried about violation of child rights. Without such measure, however, the extent of drug addiction among students would be unclear and drug users may not get timely help.

Similarly, without a doping test for athletes, real sports winners would be cheated and athletic competitions would lose their credibility. Worse is the impact of doping on the lives and careers of those involved.

Ravena was banned from playing in the PBA for 18 months. It’s bad enough to lose your
source of livelihood but it’s even worse to lose your reputation as a clean and fair athlete.
Cheaters are losers.

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