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Anti-doping Agency: Struggle against doping will continue

According to Timo Seppälä, medical director of the Finnish Anti Doping Agency FINADA the fight against doping in sports will continue well into the future. He noted that often only few are aware of the practice.

Dopingnäytteitä laboratoriossa.
Samples of banned substances in a FINADA lab. Image: Yle

Athletes seldom own up to using performance enhancing substances, even if there is strong evidence pointing to their use. According to the medical director of Finland’s anti-doping watchdog Timo Seppälä, doping is often and shared secret among athletes.

“Knowledge of doping has always been kept within a relatively small circle, for example in Lahti (during the 2001 skiing world championships). At the time the entire skiing fraternity certainly didn’t know that these kinds of substances were being used. It was only the coach and a small circle of in a small group who knew about this,” Seppälä told Yle.

“It’s difficult to penetrate the inner circle and if you do, you’re certainly committed not to mention these matters, even later on,” he pointed out.

Doping attempts will continue

Athletes and coaches frequently get involved with the use of banned substances, and without professional medical advice. Seppälä said that there are always risks involved with practices such as using performance enhancing drugs and so-called blood doping, whether or not doctors are consulted.

“Doctors aren’t easily persuaded to get involved in such practices. It might be better from the perspective of health and performance to follow a doctor’s instructions. However I believe that under no circumstances should anyone even think of resorting to doping,” he declared.

However he said he saw no end in sight to the fight against doping.

“The battle will never end. Especially now that athletic competitions are becoming more lucrative, people will continue to try,” Seppälä concluded.

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