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Why our juniors need to learn from adult dopes

10 September 2012, 07:17
The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport has warned that schoolboy rugby players are spending thousands of rands on supplements and steroids to ‘beef up’.

The issue is back in the spotlight after a 17-year-old teenager tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone at the under-18s Craven Week rugby festival in Port Elizabeth in July. He faces a two year ban.

The tragedy for this player (he can’t be named because he is a minor) is that he has possibly wrecked his chances of making in the game. After all, two years is a lifetime for a sportsman at that age. One of the joys of being a teenage sportsman (or women) is that they can always look to adults for guidance on how not to compete.

Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson and Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar are among the high profile sports personalities who have tested positive for using performance-enhancing drugs. And, just last month, Lance Armstrong, one of the greatest athletes of all time threw in the towel (and his extraordinary Tour de France legacy) in the wake of a doping scandal that refused to die down.

The price of fame in many sports codes has become so high that it is impairing the judgement of many junior sports stars in many different codes. Sports administrators need to get the following message across: You are only a winner if you won fairly.

Former Argentinean striker Diego Maradona clouded his legacy by being a cheat with his infamous ‘hand of God’ goal, and the fact that he was sent home from the 1994 World Cup after testing positive for steroids.

By Layla Francis
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