Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Winning clean in sport is the only way to greatness

By Ali Gordon

In an age of smashing targets and earning big money incentives, everyone is fighting to be the best.

But, with that, comes people cheating the system.

Is it wrong to deceive at all costs or are you simply putting yourself on an even playing field to compete with the top dogs?

There is certainly one Tour de France winner who would argue in favour of the latter - serial cheat and very convincing liar Lance Armstrong.

Either way, it's unnatural. Winning should be about who works the hardest and ultimately, who is the best person for the job - not pumping yourself full of steroids.

That's why the recent modifications to the World Anti-Doping Code, which unifies anti-doping rules for global sports, will come as a welcome change. Unless you're a drug cheat, of course.

The new legislation means that athletes who are caught doping will face suspension from their sport for four years, an improvement on the previous two-year ban.

Other changes will see less leniency given for missed tests, with possible reduced bans for helping investigators.

Recent findings from the University of Oslo suggest that drug cheats could still benefit from using anabolic steroids for decades after the point of which they were taken, which makes you question if 32-year-old sprinter Justin Gatlin's sensational summer was more than merely a rise in form.

Gatlin ran the fastest ever 100m and 200m times by a man in his thirties, just a few years after serving two suspensions.

True athletes, using true methods, battling it out on true level playing fields can only improve sport for both participants and spectators.

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