The World-Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has recently published its most recent list of “prohibited substances and methods,” which goes into effect on January 1, 2017 (referred to as “the List”). Notably, the List governs what substances and methods are acceptable both in and out of competition.
Sir Craig Reedie, the WADA President, commented on the list’s ramifications, “All athletes around the world are held to these standards and there can be no tolerance for people who intentionally break the rules.” He added that “the List is released three months ahead of taking effect so that all stakeholders—in particular athletes and their entourage —have ample time to familiarize themselves with the List and its modifications.”
The List, however, is not ironclad. An athlete may receive an exemption, and therefore use a banned substance or method, if he or she has a legitimate medical reason.
Here is the Cliff Notes version of the summary of major changes to the List (feel free to consult a medical dictionary):
- Section S1.b (anabolic agents) of the List has been broadened to include boldenone, boldione, 19-norandrostenedione, nandrolone and 19-norandrostenediol.
- Section S2 now includes GATA inhibitors, TGF-ß inhibitors, roxadustat, molidustat and cobalt.
- Section S3 has been amended so that higenamine is classified as a non-selective beta-2-agonist, a 24-hour dose of salbutamol is not be taken at one time and salmeterol present in urine tests is to be below 10 ng/mL.
- Under Section S4, arimistane was added as a new example of an aromatase inhibitor.
- Section S6 now includes lisdexamfetamine and 4-methylhexan-2-amine (beware: it has a “number of other synonyms”).
- Nicomorphine was added to Section S7 (narcotics).
The most recent major doping scandal in swimming has revolved around Russia, Meldonium, and specifically breaststroker Yulia Efimova. In 2013, she was suspended for 16 months for using a banned substance (DHEA) under Section S1.b. In 2016, leading up to this year’s Rio Games, she was temporarily suspended after testing positive for Meldonium. Her suspension was lifted because the grace period for a positive Meldonium test was extended through September 2016. Despite becoming effective as a banned substance on January 1, 2016, the grace period was added because it was unknown how long it would take for the substance to clear the athlete’s system (i.e. it was believed that an athlete may still test positive in mid-2016 after taking Meldonium in 2015 prior to its being prohibited). During the Olympics, Efimova referred to the scandal as the cold war of sport. Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova admitted to using the substance after the ban date, and was one of the few to receive a suspension for it because she said she was unaware of it being illegal, as compared to using the “lingering in the blood” defense.