Article Abstract

Doping and anti-doping testing in sports: are we only pointing at the bright side of the moon?

Authors: Giuseppe Lippi, Camilla Mattiuzzi

Abstract

Background: The term doping is conventionally identified with the use of methods or substances which may artificially boost athletic performances, so corrupting the essential spirit of equity and fairness in sports. Ample media coverage of famous doping cases has generated a misleading persuasion that cheating may be more prevalent in popular disciplines than in others.
Methods: In order to obtain information about recent cases of doping in all sport disciplines (i.e., analytical adverse findings; AAFs), we investigated the 2015 Anti-Doping Testing Figures recently released by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which provides a comprehensive picture of all adverse findings identified in 2015 by the Organization.
Results: Beside bodybuilding (15.0%) and powerlifting (14.0%), the second higher prevalence of AAFs has been recorded in casting (7.1%), followed by Muay Thai (7.3%) and equestrian (6.3%). Despite the relatively low number of athletes tested, meaningful frequency of doping cases has also been found in draughts, sled dog competitors and in bowling.
Conclusions: The evidence that many less popular sports disciplines have a remarkable number of AAFs calls for urgent interventions aimed to increase the number of anti-doping controls in young and recreational athletes to prevent serious harm to the public health. Screening for recreational drugs is also an issue, since this can actually be seen as an interference in private life.

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