The Human Reasons Why Athletes Who Dope Get Away With It
The logistics of drug testing, and the reliance on the competence and thoroughness of each country’s efforts, makes catching cheaters extra difficult
Last week, we examined reasons why the very nature of drug testing technology — which cannot eliminate false positives and false negatives at the same time — means it will never be a perfect mechanism for catching cheaters. This may come as no big to surprise to anyone who remembers the famous Nike commercial featuring video of Lance Armstrong taking a drug test. “What am I on?” Armstrong asks rhetorically. “I’m on my bike, busting my ass six hours a day.” He was also on a raft of drugs, yet passed hundreds of tests. Certainly, testing technologically has progressed since then and will continue to do so. But even if technological holes are closed, logistical loopholes may remain. Here are four holes large enough for Lance to ride a bike through:

1. The Dog Was Eating My Homework...While My Doorbell Was Broken

When athletes take small doses of synthetic hormones, the window during which they might fail a test is very short — often just hours. So it’s critical that athletes don’t know when the tests will occur. To facilitate year-round, unannounced testing of a limited number of top athletes, the World Anti-Doping Agency calls for “whereabouts requirements.” Beginning in 2009, potential Olympians had to fill out forms letting anti-doping authorities know where they would be for at least one hour each day — between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. — for the next few months. (An athlete’s whereabouts calendar can be altered, and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency even has a mobile whereabouts app.) Still, athletes can miss three tests in 12 months before they face a sanction. It’s only fair to give some wiggle room — any idea where you’ll be three Tuesdays from now? — but it means athletes can sometimes avoid the testers by claiming to have stepped out briefly or that they didn’t hear the doorbell. Or, as retired professional cyclist Tyler Hamilton — and admitted former doper — once succinctly summarized a low-tech method of chicanery: “We hid.” 

2. Testing Infrastructure? What Testing Infrastructure?

The World Anti-Doping Agency itself is not — as is commonly misunderstood — set up to drug test athletes around the world. WADA was launched just before the turn of the millennium to coordinate anti-doping efforts and rules around the world. The agency conducts research to better detect ever-more advanced doping, accredits labs that want to become certified for drug testing (and strips accreditations if labs don’t maintain certain standards), and keeps the World Anti-Doping Code. The Code, includes the list of banned substances and the methods and rules for how anti-doping efforts should be conducted by sports federations and countries. It was implemented before the 2004 Olympics and has been updated several times. So WADA simply keeps the Code; it’s up to the Olympic committees, national and international sports federations, and anti-doping bodies in each individual country to actually implement it. Typically glacial bureaucratic movement has ensued. In one prominent instance, Renee Anne Shirley, former executive director of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission, pointed out that limited staff and expired testing kits led to a total halt to JADCO’s out-of-competition testing in the three months before the 2012 London Olympics. (Athletes were still subject to testing by international governing bodies.) Implementing agreed upon anti-doping practices is still a fairly new and definitely evolving venture for plenty of countries and sports organizations, and it’s still a global patchwork. 

3. TUE

It’s an abbreviation for “Tuesday” to you, but any athlete who sees those letters immediately thinks “therapeutic use exemption.” Athletes have to be allowed to care for their health, and the TUE system allows them to apply for permission to use substances or medical procedures that would normally be restricted, ranging from corticosteroids and stimulants to IVs. The trouble is that any process by which athletes can gain permission to use potentially performance enhancing drugs also provides a possible anti-doping loophole. Perhaps the most stunning recent TUE revelation was that Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez was actually given permission at one point to use synthetic testosterone, and then to use the drug clomiphene citrate, meant to boost testosterone in men who are not producing enough naturally. The Ultimate Fighting Championship also gave out a rash of exemptions for testosterone, with most athletes claiming they needed it because they had low testosterone for their age. In Olympic sports, an exemption for testosterone would be extraordinarily hard to come by. Simply low testosterone levels do not suffice; a rare condition — like being born without testicles or having them removed — would have to be present. But the prevalence of certain medications among athletes — like corticosteroids, both injected for pain and inhaled for asthma — has led some of the pros themselves to call for removal of the TUE process altogether, so that there would be no exemptions for otherwise restricted medication. As American distance runner Ben True recently put it: “I have a hard time with the idea that if you’re that sick and need certain drugs that you’re able to be at the top of the sport and race at the highest level. Maybe you just need to go home and rest and recover for a while.”

4. Henhouse, Meet Fox

Officials at IAAF — track and field’s international governing body — were understandably a tad defensive after a recent report by London’s Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD that a review of 12,000 leaked biological passport tests for track athletes from 2001 to 2012 found that around 15 percent of them were doping. The governing body has a lot to lose from the perception that cheating is rife and that many athletes get away with it. It falls in line with a host of recent scandals in pro sports in which the agency charged with rooting out cheaters was unsurprisingly “surprised.” You didn’t expect Sepp Blatter to lead the charge against corruption in World Cup soccer, did you? Or the UCI — cycling’s governing body — to take down Lance Armstrong? Of course you didn’t, just like you didn’t expect Major League Baseball to interrupt the steroid-fueled home run chase — which propelled baseball back to relevance after a devastating strike — in order to bring you an important message about performance enhancing drugs… Continue Reading…
Courtesy: ProPublica


Nifty, Sensex look weak again - Monday closing report
As long as Nifty closes below 7,980, the trend is down
We had mentioned that we suspect that the market will struggle to rally and may suffer a further dip later in the coming week. On Monday, the market witnessed a downtrend and suffered marginal losses. Despite hopes of healthy economic expansion data, the slide in Asian bourses and a weaker rupee dented the Indian equity markets during the mid-afternoon trade session on Monday.
As a consequence of a slide in the Asian markets, the rupee ended weaker by 35 paisa at Rs66.50 from its previous close of Rs66.15 on Friday.
Bearish sentiments due to negative Asian cues dampened trade leading to a fall by 109.29 points or 0.41% on the S&P BSE Sensex. The S&P BSE Sensex, which opened at 26,469.42 points, closed at 26,283.09 points, down 109.29 points or 0.41% from the previous day's close at 26,392.38 points. The S&P BSE Sensex touched a high of 26,504.73 points and a low of 26,215.16 points in the intra-day trade.
Weak sentiments were also witnessed at the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE). The CNX Nifty of the NSE declined by 30.65 points or 0.38% to 7,971.30 points.
Analysts pointed out that the negative cues emanating out of Asian markets, especially due to the slide in the Chinese markets, made investors reluctant to chase higher prices.
Sector-wise, capital goods, automobile, banks, consumer durables and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) came under heavy selling pressure.
The S&P BSE capital goods index plunged by 176.07 points, the automobile index receded by 138.23 points, the banks contracted by 66.27 points, the consumer durables index declined by 53.94 points and FMCG index tumbled by 31.29 points.
On the other hand, healthcare index augmented by 316.06 points, metal index gained by 44.35 points and oil and gas sector was higher by 24.31 points.
Major Sensex gainers during Monday's trade were: Lupin, up 3.55% at Rs.1,928.85; Cipla, up 3.30% at Rs681.50; Dr.Reddy's Lab, up 3.15% at Rs4,310.15; Coal India, up 2.50% at Rs366.35; and Vedanta, up 2.34% at Rs.98.60.
The major Sensex losers were: BHEL, down 3.45% at Rs226.50; Bharti Airtel, down 2.14% at Rs354.50; Hindalco Industries, down 2.08% at Rs80.05; ICICI Bank, down 1.92% at Rs278.10; and Reliance Industries, down 1.65% at Rs856.80.
Among the Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei tumbled by 1.28%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained by 0.27%. China's Shanghai Composite Index dropped by 0.78%.
In Europe, French CAC 40 tumbled by 0.50% and Germany's DAX Index slipped by 0.43% at close of trading here.
The top gainers and top losers of major indices are given in the table below:
The closing values of major Asian indices are given below:


Maharashtra approved only one degree college in past two years
Maharashtra government, which aims to set up 25 to 30 private universities across the state, has granted permission to just one degree college over the past two years, reveals reply received under RTI
While Maharashtra aims to set up 25 to 30 private universities across the state, according to information procured under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, over the past two years, the state government has given approval to just one degree college. 
RTI activist, Anil Galgali, who had filed the application, says, since 2014, the Maharashtra government received 298 applications for degree colleges. "During 2014-15, the Higher and Technical Education Department received 130 applications for new colleges. Out of this, only one application from Jalgaon-based North Maharashtra University was approved. Out of the 129 applications, 46 were issued letters of intent (LoIs)," the information provided by the Public Information Officer (PIO) under RTI reveals.
"In the year 2015-16, applications for 168 new colleges were submitted to the government, but the government has taken a decision to not give permission to any new college hence all the applications have been reverted back to the respective Universities," the PIO says.
The Education Department received 16 applications for new colleges from Aurangabad, 11 from Buldhana, nine each from Pune and Yavatmal, eight from Nashik, seven each from Chandrapur and Akola, six from Mumbai, five each from Hingoli, Solapur and Amravati, four each from Parbhani and Gadchiroli, three each from Nagpur, Latur, Jalgaon, Nandurbar, Osmanabad, two each from Satara, Ahmed Nagar, Nanded, Dhule, Kolhapur, Thane, Beed and one each from Raigad, Vasai, Ratnagiri, Baramati and Sangli districts, the reply received by Galgali shows.
Interestingly, majority of the proposals fail to satisfy conditions set by the government's decision. Non-availability of non-agriculture (NA) certificate and documents related with building is one of the most common reasons for not granting permissions, the RTI reveals.
According to Galgali, the government's decision to not grant permission to any new college is not correct. "Education as business in Maharashtra has become a fiefdom of few privileged people and the decision of the Government on not granting permission to new colleges is in tune with continued control of the education field for the privileged few," he said.
Just last month, Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde told media that the government was working on a proposal to make the state an education hub. He had said, "Our aim is to set up 25 to 30 private universities in different parts of Maharashtra. I would also like to have a private sports university and a full-fledged university of arts and culture."
“We plan to encourage formation of self-financed private universities which will help the state to achieve excellence in higher, technical, professional and management education without creating financial burden on state exchequer,” the minister had said.


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