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WADA: Doping a broader issue than sport

A World Anti-Doping Agency official believes performance-enhancing drugs are a risk to all of society, not just sport.

WADA director-general David Howman claims that 99 percent of the substances used to make the drugs, came unregulated and non-sanitised from China.

“Steroids and EPO and growth hormone, all these things, this is not just elite athletes. This is society in general,” Howman said.

“There’s more money to be made in supplying high school kids than there is supplying elite athletes even. At local gyms there are people pushing steroids. It’s a huge industry.

“It poses a health risk to our societies. The stuff that is used and is pushed comes from raw materials supplied from China. Ninety nine per cent of the substances come from China, unregulated, non-sanitized, risky and yet our kids, our grandchildren are taking these things.”

Howman believes that the huge amounts of money involved in modern-day sport make it highly unlikely that criminals will stop attempting to sell performance-enhancing drugs to elite athletes.

“There are no two sets of bad guys. There’s one set of bad guys, the same jokers who are doing this. It’s all about money. It’s all about greed,” he said.

“I think when you have a look at where sport has come in the last 15 years in terms of the amount of money that sportspeople can earn then you can see why the criminal underworld have been attracted to it and I know many of the media were shocked by the fact they had been taken in by (Lance) Armstrong for so many years.

“I don’t think the media will be shocked again, because I think you are going be a little bit more sceptical when you see certain situations in place.”

Tue 12 Feb, 2013
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