Under Article 1 of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules, National Governing Bodies of each sport shall adopt and abide by the spirit and terms of the National Anti-Doping Programme and the Irish Anti-Doping Rules. National Governing Bodies (in our case Motorsport Ireland) must incorporate these rules into their own rules, which it intends to do in the near future. This is merely an overview of the anti-doping rules; the full text of the rules can be had from the Irish Sports Council.
Thankfully, Motor sport has escaped the blight of drug-taking which has affected some other sports; this is mainly due to the fact that compounds which might enhance performance in other sports will make little difference in motor sport. Why
then do we have to submit to the drug testing at races, rallies etc which has been going on for the last eighteen months? The answer is firstly that we cannot be expected to be treated differently to other sports and secondly, we receive very
substantial amounts of money from the Irish Sports Council – it would be unreasonable to sign up, take their money but refuse to abide by their rules!
Those of you who have already been tested will know that we differ from the majority of sports by testing competitors for the presence of alcohol prior to the competition (by breathalyser). We are not alone in this – archery has similar procedures. It is a credit to our competitors that all tests carried out to date have been negative. However, be careful – allow 12 hours at minimum for alcohol to be cleared from the body. As the alcohol testing is done early in the morning, the best advice is not to drink alcohol the day before the event.
“ACCIDENTAL” TAKING OF A BANNED SUBSTANCE
In the early days of testing, my concern as Doping Control Officer was that competitors would inadvertently take a banned substance, which might have been present in something innocent such as a cough bottle. The Irish Sports Council
recognises this possibility, and has reduced the penalties accordingly – but there are still penalties. To avoid the risk of taking a banned substance inadvertently, ask your chemist or doctor to check whether or not the medicine is O.K. to take – it can be easily checked in a booklet called MIMS, which every doctor and chemist in the country gets each month.
The Irish Sports Council strongly advises all competitors to avoid taking food supplements / complementary medicines or herbal remedies; up to 20% of such substances contain steroids.
The Sports Council wants to ensure that nobody should be barred from a sport because of illness; if you have an illness for which you need to take a banned substance as part of your treatment (asthma being a good example), it is possible in
certain circumstances to get what is called a Therapeutic Use Exemption in advance. If you feel you are in this category, please contact myself by writing to me at Motorsport Ireland or by phone – 087 6737074.
The list of banned substances includes illegal drugs, such as cannabis, amphetamines, heroin etc. Please be aware that some of these substances can be detected in the body for a long time after it was last taken, in the case in the case of cannabis, up to six weeks afterwards.
REGISTERED POOL COMPETITORS
In common with other sports, Motorsport Ireland is obliged to identify to the Sports Council a number of competitors who are considered to be international level competitors. These high-profile competitors may be subjected to out of competition testing, i.e. spot checks to ensure they are drug free.
We are now subject to a new set of rules by which we must abide. Motorsport Ireland wants to do everything possible to help competitors in this regard; there is no intention on our part to trap competitors quite the contrary. However, competitors also have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with these rules and, if in any
doubt, contact myself at Motorsport Ireland.
Dr. Frank ODonoghue, Motorsport Ireland, 34 Dawson Street, Dublin 2.
Ph. 087 673 7074. Irish Sports Council Website www.irishsportscouncil.ie