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Doping at an all time high among young athletes

543   //    21 Jan 2016, 09:57 IST
Program for Education and Awareness on Anti-Doping in Sports (PEADS) is a national program for anti-doping among youngsters  

Doping cases involving Indian players is on the rise in the recent years, report Hindustan Times. 19-year-old Ankit Dahiya’s career is in jeopardy now with the national shot putter being provisionally suspended. The Delhi-based athlete had failed a doping test in a domestic meet and now faces a four-year ban.

“What drives youngsters to take a short cut? Winning medals at any cost,” says Satyapal Singh, a former national level athlete and Dronacharya Awardee. “Since the target is national level, young athletes don’t think of long-term training. Hence they try unfair means for quick gains.”

Doping is not a new phenomenon among youngsters. However, the number of players stuck in such cases is now at an alarming high.

An upcoming athlete from Punjab, Ketki Sethi, was handed an eight-year ban last year after failing a doping test at a meet in Patiala. She had previously failed a test at a school meet.

Arun Merindatta, a medical expert who has been associated with discipline enforcement said, “Low-key school and college competitions have become breeding grounds for dope cheats. The shocking fact that young athletes take pills to win medals even in low-key meets indicates that the menace is deep-rooted. What is more damaging is that it has become a routine of sorts among school and college going athletes.”

Athletics Federation of India (AFI) made the dope test mandatory in state meets. Last year, three female athletes were caught for using steroids in a West Bengal state meet while Kerala, considered a factory churning young Indian athletes, had one positive in their state meet.

Turkey had suspended over 30 top athletes in 2013, ahead of the World championships. Kazakhstan’s anti-doping head Maria Bakasheva had recently admitted that code violation among young athletes is a worrying issue. 16 athletes failed doping tests last year in Kazakhstan, out of which four were below 18.

Merindatta thinks that there should be more that the sports board should do to instil fear in the minds of young sportsmen. “There should be more frequent testing to put fear in their minds. All stakeholders should join hands to contain the menace,” he said.

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