Pushing yourself to the limits of physical endurance to claim that all important win is what sport is all about.
Throughout the competitive world you see it time and time again.
Tour De France riders tackling some of the most challenging mountains in the world, international rugby players enduring significant impacts, and weightlifters lifting double their own body weight are just some of the examples.
However, some of these incredible achievements have often been overshadowed by one word – doping.
The controversial practice has surrounded some of sport’s biggest stars and in extreme cases, spawned major lawsuits, sponsorship disputes, and lifetime bans from sport.
With this in mind, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) constantly reassesses which drugs fall under its banned substances category when publishing its annual Prohibited List. This is also featured on the UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) website. This year’s list, which is now in effect, features the inclusion of drugs which could be used to treat asthma, ADHD, as well as others that reduce estrogen.
Specialist sports lawyer Emma Harris from Cardiff-based Blackfords LLP has represented professionals and sports individuals who have found themselves subject to disciplinary proceedings.
She says the responsibility of complying with the rules lies with the athlete. “Athletes are expected to pay attention to the new lists and to ensure they are up to date with any changes.
“The biggest change which we expect to see in respect of the 2017 list is as a result of the addition of a number of asthma medications. Our general advice to athletes is, if you have asthma and take medication for it, you should consult your medical team to ensure dosage is at the correct level, over the correct period of time.
“A TUE can be obtained from UK Anti-Doping (on the advice of a doctor), which would cover the athlete for any prescribed medication for their asthma. If they are on prescribed medication, then they should seek guidance from their GP or a pharmacist.
“There’s always a risk that an athlete might have taken the substance before it is added to the list and therefore can be caught due to it still being in their system.
“Those who do breach the rules, could face enforcement by UKAD, this could be a ban of a number of years, a lifetime ban, and even the stripping of titles and medals. There can be financial implications as well. For example, if there are sponsorship deals then these might be cancelled for breach of contract.
“Testing can happen to athletes at any level of the sport and are completely random. We have seen an increase in the testing of members of university and Varsity teams, as well as semi-professional and professional athletes.
“The implications are serious, and if someone has breached, or is alleged to have breached, they should seek specialist legal assistance at the first opportunity.”
Here are five of the new additions and modifications to the 2017 Prohibited List:
Arimistane – This is a hormone/metabolic modulator that controls the levels of specific hormones including Estrogen and Cortisol. It also has a direct effect on testosterone levels.
Why could it be problematic: The drug has previously been praised as being specifically beneficial in bodybuilding in allowing competitors to lift heavier weights. It could also be used to help athletes see a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to weight gain and suppression of the immune system.
Salbutamol Inhalers: Also known as Albuterol or marketed as Ventolin.
Why it could be problematic: This is commonly used to treat asthma. Previously an inhaled dosage of no greater than 1600 micrograms was permitted over 24 hours this has been amended to indicate that athletes shouldn’t exceed 800 micrograms every 12 hours.
Higenamine: This is part of the Nandina plant.
Why it could be problematic: It has traditionally been used as an anti-asthmatic and can be used as a fat burner which can be found in food supplements. French internationals Brice Dulin and Yannick Nyanga were subject to an anti-doping probe after allegations traces of the substance was discovered in a drugs test.
Boldenone: This is an anabolic androgenic steroid.
Why it could be problematic: Although traditionally used for the treatment of horses, Boldenone can be used to increase lean muscle mass, strength, and the ability to train longer and harder
Lisdexamfetamine: is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant of the amphetamine class.
Why it could be problematic: It is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and moderate to severe binge eating disorder in adults.
Nicomorphine: is an opioid drug.
Why it could be problematic: It is used in the treatment of severe pain which might be beneficial following injury or intense training.