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Expert: Athletes should be surveyed by GPS

October 29th, 2007 by Allan Priess · 1 Comment

Michael Ashenden
Michael Ashenden at Play the Game (Photo: Ingrid Trier)

Australian blood doping expert Michael Ashenden has three ideas on how to prevent doping users from winning competetions. One of them involves a GPS system, that tells doping authorities where athletes are at all times.

Project coordinator at the Science and Industry Against Blood Doping, Michael Ashenden, presented his controversial proposal at the Play The Game conference on Monday. His idea is to replace the whereabout system with a GPS device in form of either a watch, bracelet or mobile phone, which the athlete is supposed to carry 24 hours a day.

Ashenden does not find, that his proposal violates the athletes rights, but in stead sees it as a help to both the doping authorities and the athletes.

”In this way the athletes do not need to spend time informing the authorities, where they are. The GPS system will do it for them, so this would be a help to both parts,” he says.

His second suggestion is possibly even more controversial than the first one. The blood doping expert wants to lower the barriere for when it is possible to suspend an athlete following a possible doping violation. Ashenden wants the opportunity for doping authorities to suspend athletes for a shorter period of time than the existing fixed period at two years, if they show suspicious results.

”If there is less evidence, the suspension should be smaller. Sometimes it is going to be a travesty, but for the good of the sport the athletes would have to accept it,” Ashenden says.

Finally Michael Ashenden wants to ban team-based medical staff known from for instance cycling.

”If the athlete really needs a doctor to get to the finish line, maybe he shouldn’t be competing,” Ashenden says.

The president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) Pat McQuaid, however, is not impressed with Michael Ashendens suggestions - especially the idea of a GPS system.

”I do not think, this will stop the problem of doping. It has been discussed, but whether or not a GPS system should be etablished is not clear at this point. You might say, that the riders have the right to a life besides cycling and a form of dignity as well,” he says.

Michael Ashenden, on the other hand, finds that there is a need for new solutions in solving the doping problems in sport, and that further testing is not the way. He lists a number of products with a similar effect as EPO, but which are at the moment untraceable in doping tests.

Furthermore, he states, that the technology for the GPS system is available, and, therefore, it is only a question of will, wheather or not it should be established. The blood doping expert feels, that his three suggestions would make it unlikely for a doping user to win a competition in the future.

”With these suggestions in place an athlete can either win or cheat, but not do both,” Ashenden says.

Related link: Ashenden: -CSC anti doping system proves nothing

Tags: Theme: Anti-doping

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