• Drugs in Sport

Drugs testing in sport doomed to fail

ESPN staff
July 26, 2013
The report said some competitors 'have increasingly sophisticated techniques to avoid detection' © PA Photos

A report claims that drug testing in sport will fail because the chance of catching offenders is so low that authorities are unable to make inroads into the problem.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide reviewed positive doping tests from 93 different sports across the world and concluded there was a 2.9% chance of a single test identifying a cheat.

If an athlete who was using drugs was tested 12 times a year the chances of them being discovered was around 33%. "But we know that athletes don't continuously use performance enhancing drugs, they have increasingly sophisticated techniques to avoid detection," co-author of the research, Professor Maciej Henneberg, told AAP.

The report said that for a 100% success rate every athlete would need to be tested around 50 times a year which would cost somewhere in the region of £15,000 per competitor.

"The current system of anti-doping testing is inadequate to eliminate doping," Henneberg said. "It appears that anti-doping policies are in place more for perception, to show that the right thing is being done. In practice the anti-doping system is doomed to fail."

Henneberg cited Germany as an example, explaining the cost of carrying out enough tests on the country's 4000 athletes would be around £80 million against a budget for the the German National Anti-Doping Association of around £5 million.

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