Antidoping; an insight.

I read an article the other day that spoke about one of the tennis world’s biggest stars, Novak Djokovic and his views on the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).

Djokovic launched a verbal attack against WADA late last year after his compatriot, Viktor Troicki, was given a 12 month ban for failing to provide a blood sample.

According to Djokovic this ban proved “again that this system of WADA and the anti-doping agency doesn’t work.”

I’ve been going to antidoping seminars since I was thirteen. It is ingrained in the Australian elite sports system and it filters down to the juniors ranks.

We’re not the drug fuelled athletes painted by the media. We are the sport which tests the most and therefore catches the cheats.

For me antidoping is a part of our sport and is a necessary tool; it’s not an invasion of privacy, not an inconvenience, and not a burden. It is a way to ensure I am competing on a level playing field.

I find it baffling that athletes today — of any shape or form, be it super stars like Djokovic or weekend warriors out at the local club race — can question the processes undertaken by our antidoping bodies or why they are necessary.

The article also presented a staggering statistic.

According to a new tool created by the United States Antidoping Agency (USADA) which lists all drug tests initiated, planed and completed by different sports, tennis conducted just 19 in 2013, all of which were out of competition.

Just incase you feel like you have been slapped in the face with a wet fish let me clarify again; that’s 19 tests undertaken by USADA of all tennis athletes. Not one individual athlete.

USADA also has a tool which allows you to search how many times an individual athlete was tested over a given time period. Out of interest I searched Serena Williams; she was tested three times in 2013.

I was tested on more than eight occasions in 2013, most recently at the St Kilda Super Crit in Melbourne.

I’m going to make a controversial statement; cycling gets a bad rap. In my opinion cycling is one of the sports doing the most to clean up the sporting landscape and other sports would do well to follow in it’s footsteps.

We’re not the drug fuelled athletes painted by the media. We are the sport which tests the most and therefore catches the cheats.

In the lead up to the Olympics I was minding my own business at the European Training Centre (the European version of the Australian Institute of Sport) in Varese, Italy when I overheard an athlete complaining that they were required to fill in their whereabouts for the Olympic period.

What? How could an athlete who had qualified to represent their country at the highest level of their sport not know about the whereabouts program?

I have been filling in my whereabouts since I was 19.

For those that don’t know, the whereabouts program is a system which identifies top tier athletes and requires them to account for their whereabouts for everyday of every year. You must provide an overnight residence every night, a one hour time slot where you must be available for testing everyday, and various other details such as competition dates and training periods.

Athletes are required to provide and over night residence, a testing location and a one hour time slot every day.

Athletes are required to provide an over night residence, a testing location and a one hour time slot every day.

Not long ago I had WADA knock on my door in Girona to conduct an out of competition drug test. They came outside of my allocated time slot, however because I was available I was required to conduct the test.

And you know what? I didn’t mind. Because to me that proved that WADA, it’s processes, and procedures were working. Not the opposite.

The idea that you can be tested anytime, anywhere is crucial to the fight against antidoping and this is what Novak was complaining about.

To me, it shows ignorance from an elite athlete whom I had previously held in high regard, but it also is just another example of how cycling is leaps and bounds ahead of other sports in the fight against doping.

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8 Comments on “Antidoping; an insight.

  1. Hi Chloe. A good read, thanks! Can you date this blog post so we can feature in our Daily Sports News? Cheers, meg

    Happy new year and all the best for racing in 2014. I saw the photo from your team launch … Kit looks good and a few high fliers too!

  2. Pingback: Rocacorba Daily | CyclingTips

  3. This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend of a friend. She said “pro cyclists are all dopers” because “every week you hear that another one has been caught”. And she actually believed this, completely ignorant of the fact that no other sportspeople are tested anywhere near as often as cyclists. I explained this to her and asked her how she knew that everyone in her sport (roller derby) weren’t doping, since there is no testing protocol in place for it (at least not for amateurs in the UK)…

    Just typical of what we’re up against when it comes to public perception of our sport.

  4. Great blog Chloe- you are all over it! Have a great 2014!
    Karen Burton.

  5. I wish this blog was in the NY Times and every other major paper where it matters. And also the fact that only the cyclists’ names often come out in doping rings like Operation Puerto in Spain. As an example, on 5 July 2006, Fuentes–the doping doctor–was indignant that only cyclists had been named and said he also worked with tennis and football players. Ironically (or not!), one Rafael Nadal is one of the suspected tennis players. I imagine you know this though…
    Great blog. Great riding. Git ‘em

  6. In being appropriate and politically correct, I should have said that Spain’s current tennis legend is one of the suspected names and let the suspicious observer figured it out, as its wrong to apply a name to suspicion. Regards

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