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Anti-doping thoughts from a European perspective

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Disclaimer

This blog post is solely a reflection of my personal thoughts regarding doping sanctions in CrossFit vs. WADA’s sanctions in Europe.

Having a legal background, I’m naturally interested in sports specific rule books or acts related to sports. This blog post is NOT a legal article, nor a pro/con doping article or an article pro/con CrossFit Inc.’s regulations vs WADA’s – but just a quick overview of my thoughts regarding the difference in sanctions/clash of regulations.

Being a crossfitter at Regionals level and also a competitive weightlifter from Denmark has made me reflect over the different rules and sanctions athletes have to comply with from a Danish/European perspective.

Sanctions in CrossFit

CrossFit Inc.’s drug policy (http://games.crossfit.com/drug-policy) lists the sanctions when tested postitve in clause 11:

“Refusal to sign a consent form prohibits an athlete from participating in a CrossFit sanctioned event. Any athlete who tests positive for a banned substance or who refuses to submit to a required drug test shall be subject to any one or combination of the sanctions below.

§ (1) Disqualification from that event

§ (2) Return of any prizes, awards, or money from that competition

§ (3) Permanent suspension and removal from ever participating in a CrossFit sanctioned event again”

I’m aware that a team or two on a yearly basis are disqualified by CrossFit Inc. from participating in the CrossFit Games after qualification at Regionals due to one or more persons on the team testing positive. I’m not aware of any athletes who have been permanently suspended and removed from ever participating in a CrossFit sanctioned event again.

The definition of a “CrossFit sanctioned event” is not defined in the drug policy, but I assume that the definition convers: Open, Regionals, Games, and any invitationals/other competitions arranged by CrossFit Inc. I could be wrong though.

Testing periods

In the sport of fitness, I’ve only experienced tests at Regionals and have heard of tests conducted at the CrossFit Games, which is another interesting aspect in the clash of regulations.

According to clause 8 in CrossFit Inc.’s drug policy tests are conducted in the following way:

“(1) Championships Testing: CrossFit Games individual/team championships events, selection of athletes may be based on random selection or position of finish.

(2) Unannounced Random Testing: All registered athletes who have signed the drug-testing consent form are subject to unannounced random testing. This includes at Sectional [update needed here??] and Regional events for the CrossFit Games, and/or any other CrossFit sanctioned athletic events. Random selections will be generated electronically, maintaining objective and unbiased athlete selection.”

Again, “any other CrossFit sanctioned athletic event” is not defined, but I’m not aware of any other testing than at Regionals and Games. Off season testing doesn’t seem to be a part of CrossFit Inc.’s drug policy. This has to be compared to WADA’s testing possibilities throughout the year (under training and in competition). I’m not saying what’s right here, I’m just pointing out the differences.

Sanctions in European weightlifting from a Danish perspective

Quite a lot of crossfitters from Europe have started competing in olympic weightlifting at national/international level. When competing in olympic weightlifting, the lifteres have to comply with WADA’s rules (http://www.wada-ama.org/).

Sanctions when testing positive (I haven’t looked into what’s being tested in CrossFit vs. WADA, but that would be interesting as well) in weightlifting for licensed lifters are:

• Exclusion from the sport in 2 years, cf. clause 10 of the Danish anti-doping act (WADA’s rules implemented to national level)

• If tested in competition: Cancellation of results, cf. clause 10

• Exclusion from competitions/activities at any clubs under the Danish Sports Federation (“DIF”) for 2 years, cf. clause 10

Almost all sports in Denmark are sanctioned under the Danish Sports Federation, but an exception is CrossFit – or at least some CrossFit gyms.

Why is that? In Denmark, quite a lot of CrossFit gyms have established weightlifting clubs under the Danish Weightlifting Federation which means that those gyms have to comply with WADA’s anti-doping acts and policies.

CrossFit/Weightlifting related doping cases in Europe – and what about CrossFit Open/Regionals/Games participation?

Let’s say, that crossfitters in Europe with a weightlifting license tested positive according to WADA’s rules.

The national consequences are easy to interpret: at least 2 years exclusion from any gyms and sports under the Danish Sports Federation/national sports federation incl. weightlifting, hereunder exclusion from CrossFit gyms where WADA’s rules are applicable.

How are such European cases dealt with from CrossFit Inc.’s side taken into consideration that CrossFit Inc. are conducting competitions in Europe (Open and Regionals) according to their own set of regulations?

Could a positive tested athlete according to WADA’s rule set potentially participate (participating unaffiliated most likely) at Regionals in 2014 and potentially proceed to the Games while still being under WADA-quarantine (2 years)?

I don’t have the answer to this question and I’m not pointing fingers at CrossFit Inc. or WADA – I’m just raising the clash of regulations which I find interesting from a European perspective.

Future

It will be interesting to see how the sport of fitness develops over the next 5-10 years and how the “local” development at the different continents/contries will differ.

A very cool initiative would be local CrossFit/fitness competitions with doping tests. I thought that it would be way out in the future, but my motivation for writing this blog post is actually an upcoming local competition this fall in Europe, where all athletes by signing up have given their consent for WADA doping tests to be conducted by the national doping agency. Interesting! I haven’t heard of this elsewhere….

/Sarah

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One thought on “Anti-doping thoughts from a European perspective

  1. Pingback: Doping tests in European CrossFit competitions | FIT AS FU*K

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