The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has a sort of love/hate relationship with coffee. Originally put on the list of banned substances when WADA was first formed in late 1999, public outcry was enormous and soon the IOC was forced to remove it from the list. While there is no doubt that coffee is a stimulant–(it contains caffeine)–it stands to reason that you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where up to 90% of the world’s population would test positive! Besides, coffee is also the world’s most popular drink after water, generating hundreds of billions of revenue dollars– enough to keep a good sized country running indefinitely. Coffee is important to us all, sport or no sport.
Never the less, caffeine today finds itself on the list of substances that WADA closely monitors whenever a drug-test takes place. Everytime that the level of caffeine detected exceeds roughly 2 cups of coffee’s worth, this information is noted and sent back to WADA. There are no penalties attached, and the names of those athletes withheld with the information sent, but it is clear that one day this might all change and coffee/caffeine will once more find itself on the banned list of substances.
Meanwhile, the just-concluded World Conference on Doping in Sport , held in Johannesburg, saw some important new changes in how to fight/discourage/deal with doping in sport. The new code–becoming effective January 1, 2015–requires the doubling of penalties for those caught doping: now first timers will face a 4-year suspension, which effectively means the offending athlete will miss one Olympic Games.
“I hope and believe this conference will have an impact and a different meaning to everyone around the globe when it comes to this fight against cheaters and doping in sport,” sports minister Fikile Mbalula said at the closing of the conference. “The code we’ve adopted will be a code that will usher in a new meaning and will accelerate the fight against doping in sport.
The new code would also allow greater flexibility in terms of punishment for athletes who cooperate with doping investigations or that mistakenly took a banned substance. Doping policies will also be custom-made for individual sports, which allow greater flexibility from sport to sport. Up to now, virtually every sport had to respect the same list of banned substances.
This could potentially have a significant impact in FIDE’s current drug-testing procedures, and hopefully will lead to a meaningful discussion on the usefulness of drug-testing in chess in the first place. As far as I can see, not a single player takes any type of drugs to improve their chess performance, though a few have been caught with marijuana in their urine test.
Read more HERE.
Has anyone checked that cup of coffee for drugs? LINK
You can find FIDE’s official position on drug-testing HERE. Apparently not every national federation is comfortable with this, the USA and Austrália, for example, do not permit drug-testing on its players. And an informative article on drug-testing in chess can be found HERE. Enjoy!
AND INCASE YOU ARE CURIOUS….
Alcohol is not on the list of banned substances in competitive chess!