mid-day editorial: Hope, not dope, should take athletes ahead

Apr 06, 2017, 06:03 IST | mid-day Correspondent

India has ranked Number 3, but it's for a cause that deserves no applause. For the third year in a row, India has bagged the third position in a doping violation report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for 2015. According to the report, 117 athletes from the country have been pulled up for doping.

India follows the Russian Federation (176) and Italy (129) on the chart. Without a doubt, this should be a cause for shame and concern.

Some may argue that consumption of performance-enhancing drugs, no matter if they are banned, is essential to win in this highly competitive era. There's also a tendency to believe that, in the world of sports, aspirations come hand-in-hand with doping. The menace is often encouraged by minds seeking to make India a respectable multi-sport nation at any cost. If any person of authority insists doping is crucial to win, there's an immediate need to reflect if a medal outweighs an athlete's health.

East Germany conducted a decade-long initiative of coercive administration and distribution of perform­a­nce-enhancing drugs to its elite athletes to bolster the Communist state's prestige by winning more medals in international championships (such as the Olympics). It was known as the State Plan 14.25. Athletes spoke out years later about the tremendous price they paid and how those decisions led to deaths too.

More checks need to be put in place by our anti-doping authorities. Athletes should be made aware of the repercussions of drug consumption and they should be encouraged to refuse if coaches try to coerce them into doping.

While it may be some time before India's name is completely erased from that doping list, we should begin by trying to fall in rankings, for once. We want our athletes in the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Shame.

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