The recent story about Indian women athletes who participated in the Common Wealth games allegedly failing tests for doping has cast a cloud of gloom on their achievements. It is unfortunate that athletes knowingly or unknowingly consume anabolic steroids just in order to enhance their performance in international sports. In some cases, the coach deliberately feeds his pupils, steroids. The use of banned substances by athletes might grant success but at what cost?
Use of performance enhancing drugs and equipment goes against the spirit of sportsmanship, because it is unfair, and puts other athletes at disadvantage! When an athlete fails a dope test, then it exposes him or her to immense sense of shame and he becomes a victim of ridicule! A headline appearing in the Hindustan Times Newspaper on the 9th. of July reads,“ Three athletes fail 2nd test, face two-year ban”.
It is unfortunate that banned substances, performance enhancing drugs, and anabolic steroids continue to be sold without valid prescriptions by pharmacists all over the country. Aspiring body builders, fans of six-pack abs, and all those who want to impress consume these substances without realising the long term implications! Continued use of steroids leads to various harmful complications. The side-effects of using anabolic steroids far out-weigh their benefits!
In Patiala,according to The Times of India (July 8), “the chemists were there selling steroids for ages. It was an open secret that national-level athletes were buying illegal supplements from these outlets for many years.” If banned substances are so freely available over the counter, then how much more will our youth resort to substance abuse in order to enhance their appearance?
If diet supplements contain steroids in the guise of vitamins and minerals, then this is another matter of great concern. It seems as if we need to give more attention to sports medicine and allied fields of sports. It should be mandatory for athletes at the National Level to be constantly monitored by qualified Sports Medicine Practitioners. Public Awareness campaigns should be launched to educate the public about the side-effects and harms related to the consumption of Steroids and other harmful substances!
It is unfortunate that in our hunger for success at all costs we are resorting to short cuts, and illegal means for achieving our targets. Some how, in sports we are fixated by the possibility of winning Gold as nothing else will do. In our obsession for gold we have forgotten the sportsman spirit, where, winning is not everything. Some unscrupulous coaches do not hesitate in feeding their pupils with steroids, but at what cost? National Shame?