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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Sending a strong message against doping

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WE caught a BBC News report yesterday afternoon in which it was announced that Russian track and field athletes will remain banned from the Rio Olympics following claims the country ran a state-sponsored doping programme.

The Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes attempted to overturn the suspension, implemented by the body that governs world athletics.

But the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled it can stand.

A handful of Russian athletes could apparently still compete as neutrals at the Rio Games, which start on Aug. 5.

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The fastest man on the planet, multi gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica reacted by saying: “It’s sad but rules are rules.”

Bolt added: “It was important to send a strong message to the dopers. Doping violations in track and field is getting really bad. If you cheat or go or against the rules, this will scare a lot of people.”

However, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva —one of the 68 to appeal to CAS—said the ruling was “a blatant political order.”

The 2012 gold medallist, 34, told the Tass news agency: “Thank you all for this funeral for athletics.”

The International Association of Athletics Federations said it was “pleased CAS has supported its position,” adding that the judgement had “created a level playing field for athletes.”

Against this background, one must seriously question the failure of the World Boxing Organization, The International Boxing Federation and the World Boxing Association to follow the exemplary decision of the World Boxing Council, headed by President Mauricio Sulaiman and the Voluntary  Anti Doping Association, under the renowned Dr. Margaret Goodman, who since January this year, launched a random drug testing program for the Top 15 rated fighters in each weight division.

The WBC said it was “proud to announce,” the formal launching of the Clean Boxing Program or the CBP, under which the Top 15 WBC rated fighters in each weight class will be subject to random, year-round unannounced testing for performance enhancing drugs or PEDs and other prohibited methods in a program to be administered by VADA.

The WBC, which is currently headed by its president Mauricio Sulaiman, who succeeded his late father, Don Jose Sulaiman, who was president for 38 years, was dedicated to serving the sport of boxing and implementing safety measures for the protection of all boxers, with the common goal to have a clean sport.

Boxing is, in many instances, considered a brutal sport and the failure to prevent some fighters from using performance-enhancing drugs and other modes of enhancement that give them an undue advantage, raises serious questions of what the other world boxing organizations are thinking.

We ourselves have witnessed fighters, who were obviously on PEDs starting off poorly and getting badly beaten only to suddenly snap out of a stupor, turn around and aggressively and often brutally go after  their opponents in the so-called championship rounds.

We cannot mention their names because of the danger of facing multi-million dollar lawsuits, but we certainly can question the various boxing organizations that have, up to now, failed to institute random drug tests.

Five-division world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” has, for years, undertaken voluntary random drug tests and that is why we, personally, have asked him to insist that his future opponents do the same.

It also holds true for WBO light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes, the longest-reigning Filipino world champion, who is scheduled to defend his world title at the StuHub Center in Carson City, California on Sept. 24. 

This certainly isn’t too much to ask. If fighters have nothing to hide and world organizations insist on a clean sport, just like the WBC, then there should be no problem.

As one popular veteran referee says: “Let’s get it on!’

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