Sunvoice

Fijians Don’t Need Steroids To Win

It’s been 26 years since Ben Johnson shocked the world by testing positive for anabolic steroids at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, South Korea. One small detail that is left
03 Nov 2014 06:57
Fijians Don’t Need Steroids  To Win

It’s been 26 years since Ben Johnson shocked the world by testing positive for anabolic steroids at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, South Korea. One small detail that is left out is that six of the eight 100-metre race finalists in Seoul were involved in drug scandals at some point in their career. Johnson’s coach Charlie Francis insisted steroids were being used freely by most top sprinters at that time. Why crucify us, he said. If you don’t do steroids you can’t compete with the best, he argued.

Thankfully, the International Olympic Committee and other sporting stakeholders refused to give in Francis’ ill-conceived suggestion.

Fiji is now to supporting the anti-doping campaign. The across-the-board ban on any forms of doping or steroid use is intended to send strong signals to the sporting community. A four-year ban from sporting activity is the penalty for any Fijian athlete, coach or administrator involved in taking or providing steroids.

The timing is crucial. Next year we have the Pacific Games, the Netball World Cup and the Rugby World Cup. The following year we have the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil. It is important that we put the right structures in place to prevent any doping scandal.

We trust in the integrity of our current sporting officials in Fiji. There is no suggestion in this editorial that any one of them have been involved in illegal activity. However, the growing pressures of the professional world, particularly upon athletes are enormous.

We need to learn from previous scandals. The Dopers Hall of Fame is filled with riches to rags stories of some of the most powerful and celebrated athletes in the world.

1976: International Olympic Committee bans the use of steroids.

July 1981: U.S discus thrower Ben Plucknett tests positive for anabolic steroids. He loses his record world titles and becomes the first athlete to be disqualified by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF).

1988: Ben Johnson tests positive for steroids and loses his gold medal and world record at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea.

2000: Marion Jones wins five gold medals at the Sydney Olympic Games. She is stripped of all her medals seven years later after admitting to steroid use.

2007: The Mitchell Report is released in the U.S revealing steroid use at the top levels of professional baseball. The report implicates icons like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

2012: Cycling legend Lance Armstrong is stripped of all Tour de France titles and banned from life from professional competition for being part of a sophisticated doping programme.

2013: Australian League and Rules Clubs ensnared in investigations into use of “supplements”.

These are just some of the tragic stories that have been covered extensively by international media. Fijians don’t need to cheat their way to the top. Our Vodafone National 7s team and Paralympian Iliesa Delana (now Assistant Minister for Sports) have the correct formula for success. With spiritual discipline and a rigorous training schedule we can reach the top. It’s that simple.

Feedback: josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 




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