Posted by Editor on 02/28/21
Researchers from the University of Münster, Germany, have released a paper on the results of a study on the perceived effectiveness of anti-doping measures by top-level athletes - specifically, cyclists and track and field (T&F) athletes. The study surveyed 146 athletes who were members of the German anti-doping testing pool, 42 of whom were cyclists (all male).
The study looked at four questions:
• How effective do top-level athletes perceive individual anti-doping measures to be?
• Are the results stable across different sports?
• Are the results stable across different genders? [Note: this could only be done for T&F, and there was no difference found]
• How can the anti-doping measures be structured into appropriate categories? [The authors said: Risk of Detection, Punishment, and Communication]
Overall, the study found that athletes believed that "Improved diagnostics were considered to be the most effective remedy for doping, followed by increased bans and the implementation of an anti-doping law ... fines and a leniency program were considered significantly less effective."
While many of the measures used to combat doping showed little perceived effectiveness difference between cyclists and T&F, the use of 'indirect detection methods' was considered significantly more effective by cyclists. This refers to the biological passport system, which has been in use in cycling for some years and has resulted in a number of cyclists being caught [the authors note that biological passports have not been implemented in track and field to the same extent as cycling]. Cyclists also showed increased perceived effectiveness of the Whereabouts reporting system.
The authors report that, "The results of this study suggest that athletes consider communication measures like education programs to be reasonable, but stricter controls and harsher punishment to be a more effective means to fight doping in sport." However, they also note that this may mean that current communications methods are not "implemented appropriately to reach the athletes effectively."
Read the full study Perception of the Current Anti-doping Regime - A Quantitative Study Among German Top-Level Cyclists and Track and Field Athletes.
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