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Doping in Rhythmic Gymnastics

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 Over the last decade there’s been a growing tendency to use doping in sport– illicit medical, natural or synthetical drugs, which rises physical power of a sportsman and, thus, improves his/her sport results. In most cases sportsmen consciously take these steps trying to receive prizes, set world records and achieve worldwide fame. Moreover, they have heavy physical, emotional and psychological loads by virtue of their professional activity and take special diets. Competing at international championships sportsmen have to adjust to the difference in time and suffer from the jet lag. All these factors make it necessary to apply to medicine in order to support normal body regulation. From the other hand, the level of disease incidence is getting higher among the sportsmen together with the amount of injuries and lethal outcome because of doping.

Because of these reasons and in order to promote “clean and honest” sport, international and national sport organizations determine the fight against doping to be the main priority task. The first list of illicit drugs and methods of their detection were made by the International Olympic Committee in 1967. Today International Olympic Committee Medical Commission singles out more than 10 000 doping-drugs in various medicines. They can be classified in 5 groups:

1.      Performance-enhancing drugs (central nervous system exiters, s sympathomimetics, analgesics)

2.      Drugs (narcotic analgesics)

3.      Anabolic steroids and other anabolic hormonal remedies

4.      Betablockers

5.      Diuretics

Also doping methods are singled out:

1.      Blood doping

2.      Pharmacological, chemical and mechanical manipulations with biological liquids (masking substances, aroma compounds in urinalysis sample, catheterization, analysis replacement, ischesis of urine by kidneys).

There are also 3 classes of compounds limited for usage even for cure:

1.      Alcohol (tinctures on the base of ethanol)

2.      Marijuana

3.      Local anaesthesia substances

4.      Corticosteroids

Usage of doping-drugs is a rare thing in rhythmic gymnastics. This sport is aperiodic, requires complicated physical coordination and based on the subtle movement elements, where flexibility, coordination and rhythm feeling are important. Here are the hard requirements of slim figure, and sportsmen often have to fight against excess weight. In order to gain the necessary body weight gymnasts may use such drugs as diuretics. This medicine is quite harmless but it can mask the usage of other doping-drugs – anabolics – by removing their decay products from organism. That’s why World Anti-Doping Agency considered it to be right to put this substance to the list of prohibited ones. It’s important to notice that diuretics incorrect usage and abuse can remove the liquid from organism together with the salts necessary for normal metabolism (e.g. kalium), increases sugar content in blood, inspire exacerbation of kidney and liver diseases, depresses central nervous system, cause drowsiness, dullness, sense distress.

The reason for accusation may be also the usage of prohibited substances which are in temporary need for health support, for example after injury. In this case the mistake can be caused only by filling the permission documents (Therapeutic Use Exemptions) incorrectly or not in time. Such documents are considered by the group of doctors – Committee on Therapeutic Use Exemptions. As a rule such violations have happy ends. It’s just necessary to confirm the inquiry by convincing medical proof and to go through additional medical expert examination.

Doping-usage can be detected only by special analysis – doping test. There are competition and out-of competition doping tests. The latter can be made anywhere – trainings, sport meetings or even at sportsman’s place. International Federations of various kinds of sport decide who should be tested and when. Sportsman can be testes as many times as anti-doping organizations decide. As a rule sportsman can be disqualified for 2 years after the first violation of anti-doping rules, in case of repeated violation sportsman can be given life sentence disqualification. Violation of anti-doping rules includes the refuse of making doping-test, analysis replacement, storage and trade of the illicit drugs.

The greatest doping scandal in Rhythmic Gymnastics was in 2001. World leaders of Rhythmic Gymnastics Alina Kabaeva and Irina Chaschina were accused in doping usage, as doping-tests, made at Australian Goodwill Games, detected the prohibited diuretic agent  - furosemide. This substance is used to lose weight quickly. However test’s result, for unknown reasons, was published only in 2 months, when gymnasts won golden and silver medals at the World Championship in Madrid. Later it was found out that furosemide occurred in the blood of gymnasts from fake accessory food substance bought in the drug store. In spite of persuasive arguments made by Irina Viner (Head couch of Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Team) concerning unintentional usage of furosemide, International Gymnastics Federation decided to punish Alina Kabaeva and Irina Chaschina for anti-doping rules violation. They were disqualified for 2 years and deprived of 18 medals and all the champion titles acquired at the tournaments. The second year gymnasts could perform under the conditions of strong anti-doping control.

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