In February, the Australian Crime Commission held a press conference with the federal government and shocked us all with revelations of “the blackest day in the history of Australian sport”. Since then, investigations by the ACC and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) have continued – but with very little detail revealed. Thousands of documents have been examined, hundreds of interviews held, and many newspaper columns have been filled with contradicting information that, in my opinion, impairs the integrity of ASADA and their knowledge of what exactly should be considered a banned performance- enhancing substance.
There are many examples of the use of performance-enhancing substances within almost every single Australian sporting organisation, but we’re not going to go down that path. Instead, we are going to talk about the distinction between drugs that are on the banned list of the World Anti-Doping Agency and those that are not.
The use of peptides is a topic on everyone’s mind after the revelations surrounding the high-profile sports AFL and NRL. Radio figures and news reporters have confusingly jumbled acronyms such as GHRP6 and CJC1295 without any knowledge whatsoever of how these drugs enhance sporting performance. Allegations that peptides such as the antiobesity drug AOD-9604 have been mentioned for use and administered within sporting unities and their senior staff. As this drug is still currently classified as “experimental” and not approved by any governmental regulatory health authority in the world for human therapeutic use, this drug is therefore deemed as forbidden or banned under the WADA code. Okay, so if this drug were actually considered a “banned substance” under the WADA laws practised by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, then why was it not originally placed on the banned substance list?
At the commencement of all these investigations, it seemed as if antidoping authorities such as ASADA and WADA had absolutely no idea what these substances were, why they were being used, and how they in any way enhance sporting performance. How does an anti-obesity drug such as AOD-9604 escape coming under the radar only until it is being used widely within sporting organisations and the general public? Does this make you second guess the integrity of the governing bodies policing the use of performanceenhancing drugs in sport today? Do we now presume that almost everything consumed by a professional athlete is in some way performance-enhancing?
Substances such as GHRP6 and CJC1295 are a combination of amino acids designed to help aid the production of growth hormone in the body when administered. There are many methods athletes, doctors and medical experts use in regards to the stimulation of the production of growth hormone within the human body. Having a deep uninterrupted sleep, or eating 5-7 times a day, are proven methods of helping the body stimulate the production of more growth hormone. Is ASADA going to eventually forbid athletes from having a good sleep or eating regular meals?
It seems to me that anti-doping authorities have decided to start an unnecessary crusade in doing whatever they can to punish clubs for being “caught” rather than doing something wrong, all in an attempt to make examples of these clubs and stamp ASADA’s authority on the sporting world. Based on how this entire investigation was handled, it is clear that ASADA has lost control in managing the use of performance-enhancing substances within sport, and has attempted to protect the integrity of the organisation by making examples of athletes and clubs, and bringing certain sporting organisations into disrepute.
Until ASADA, or any anti-doping authority, begins to investigate every single athlete within every single organisation within the same boundaries, then the entire anti-doping process will always lack integrity, within any given organisation.
Lance Armstrong was found guilty of using performance enhancing substances and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from competitive cycling. You would be an idiot to think that no other competitor at those particular Tour de France events was innocent in using performance enhancing substances. But we’ll never know unless each competitor is tested equally.