Annual doping control statistics show anabolic steroids and stimulants are the performance enhancing drugs of choice among doping athletes, it was announced today, with the release of Institute for Drug-Free Sport’s (SAIDS) 2012 annual report, which also lists the names of athletes charged with doping offences.

This is according to SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport CEO, Khalid Galant, who says that the report lists a total of 55 rule violations across thirteen sports disciplines, for the period April 2011, to end of June 2012.

He points out that athletes continue to test positive through steroid use (18 cases) and stimulants (16). Twelve of the stimulant offences were for Methylhexaneamine, an increasingly popular ingredient in sports supplements.

Other banned substances that athletes tested positive for included Cannabinoids (13), Diuretics (4) and Glucocorticosteroid (3). In addition, three athletes were charged with ‘failure to comply’ in either trying evade or subvert the drug testing process.

“The concern we have is that athletes continue to have a ‘laissez faire’ attitude towards sports supplements even though they run the risk of it severely impacting on the longevity of their sports careers,” says Galant. “This is despite numerous warnings to treat the use of sport supplements with caution in the light of the numerous doping positives where athletes have attributed their positive results to supplements.”

Because the sports supplement market is not regulated, Galant says that manufacturers are not obligated to list all ingredients on the product label even though many sports supplements contain banned substances like anabolic steroids, pro hormones and stimulants that are often disguised under labeled ingredients such as ‘testosterone booster’ or ‘growth-hormone accelerator’, on the packaging of products.

Within this context, Galant says that SAIDS is encouraged by the setting up of shop in South Africa of the Informed Sport Program managed by world renowned HFL Sport Science, an international sports doping control laboratory, which he says will go along way to provide a higher level of confidence to the sports public pertaining to the efficacy and quality of ingredients of supplements.

“Informed Sport will analyse supplements to ascertain whether they contain banned substances in the product and when a product is ‘clean’, it will be certified with an Informed Sport Stamp,” he explains.

“In South Africa we have taken note that our athletes are becoming more litigious and are employing legal tactics in efforts to either delay or thwart the anti-doping legal process. Numerous athletes threaten us with lawsuits in the hope that the doping charges will be dropped.”

Some of the high profile doping cases over the past few months include Luvo Manyonga the long jumper who spoiled his chances of going to the London Olympics and Ludwick Mamabolo, Comrades marathon winner who faces a charge of doping after testing positive for the banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine after completing the race in May this year; and Lephetesang Adoro who came 7th in the Comrades marathon and who tested positive for testosterone and the banned corticosteroid, prednisone.

Galant says that the Institute’s proactive ‘I Play Fair. Say NO! to Doping’ education and awareness campaign around drug-free sport has catapulted doping issues into the mainstream and has raised the awareness and profile around doping and drugs in sport.

“It is through the campaign that school headmasters have approached SAIDS to address the rampant use of steroids among high school athletes,” he says.

He continues: “It is important that we continue to continue to raise the awareness around the dangers of drugs and doping in sport and that we utilise all means of communicating the message of drug-free sport across to our athletes, coaches and parents so that our athletes compete cleanly and fairly, free from drugs and doping.”

ENDS | Issued on 19 September 2012