The 1st International Conference on “Doping in the new era” took place over the weekend in the Greek town of Thessaloniki.
To help put doping under the microscope, at the event Euronews met up with Italian Dr. Giuseppe Fischetto, who is widely considered one of the principle authorities on anti-doping issues.
Euronews: ‘‘How many samples should an athlete give during a year in order to be sure that he or she is legal?’‘
Dr Fischetto: ‘‘There is not a definite number, but normally the anti-doping work is based actually on an intelligent testing. Based also on the block passport, also on the steroid profile, the two models of the new WADA rule. It is possible to target the test better. Of course it is better to target the athletes out of competition than in competition. But no definite number basically.’‘
Euronews: ‘‘What are the chances that an illegal athlete can avoid being caught today?’‘
Dr Fischetto: ‘‘I suppose that the chances to compete without being caught are lower and lower. Because now the tools in the hands of the investigators are better and anyway there are two main tools. (They are) The possibility to reanalyze the samples after 5, 6 or 8 years with better methods, new methods and with better and better instruments. And the second tool is the (biological) passport. Because the passport is built by the samples collected even some years before. So even some years after it can be considered violating the rule.’‘
Euronews: ‘‘Many people say that doping is always one step ahead of anti-doping. What’s your opinion about that?’‘
Dr Fischetto: ‘‘I suppose the distance is shorter and shorter. Even because now the anti-doping fight is based on more intelligent strategies.’‘
Euronews: ‘‘There is also a common belief that top level athletes take illegal supplements, so maybe the best way could be to legalize doping. What’s your opinion about that?’‘
Dr Fischetto: ‘‘I’m absolutely against this because this is a problem not only for sport but also for the health of individuals. Because many substances abused create problems to the athletes. Of course there is an abuse of the use of medicines or supplements. Many of them are not useful at all, are very expensive without any advantage and without knowing for many supplements the quality of the supplements, contaminated or not contaminated. No one can be sure. So the risk is high, the costs are high, so no advantage. I think that the life, the performance of an athlete, should be based on three legs. Is a sort of a table with three legs. One leg is the training. Second leg is the correct recovery. Third leg is the correct nutrition. These are the three legs which can permit to achieve good performance to the athletes.’‘