Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Innocent Untill Proven Guilty

Earlier this year, 2-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contado tested positive for the anabolic agent clenbuterol which is a banned substance. The Spanish cyclist blamed the positive test on a steak he had eaten and experts believed him as the traces found in his system was about 400 times below what is needed for him to get an advantage from the clenbuterol.

Unfortunately for Contador, the doping rules state that no drugs must be found within his body. Luckily for this case, common sense prevailed. Contador appealed and got his ban overturned. However the strain on his reputation remains.

Now in a tacit admission that there is a problem with the food, the United Kingdom Anti-Doping Association has warned their athletes to avoid eating liver as it “may” cause a positive on a drug test for clenbuterol. Liver is just one of a list of food to avoid for athletes.

With the London Olympics approaching, I can understand why the United Kingdom Anti-Doping Association went for a better safe-than-sorry stance but for me, the warning by them is another admission of the overzealous approach people have towards doping.

I’m all for the "anti-doping" crusade but people need to have some common sense. The main problem is that athletes are getting ban just for eating the wrong food and taking the wrong prescription. They are getting ban despite there being no proof of them using drugs for personal benefit. For example; the case against Contador should have never got as big as it did because there is no proof he ever used drugs to enhance his performance. The traces of clenbuterol found in him were 400 times BELOW what he need to have but he was still going to get ban for it!

That is just ridiculous. Just traces of banned substance should not be reason to ban someone. There must be definitive proof of guilt. As they say, a man is innocent till proven guilty. Unfortunately for athletes, that no longer seems to be the case.

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