Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tour Champion Contador Tests Positive For Clenbuterol, Suspended

We all know that the sports world is a pretty tough one. Those who rise in the race and continue to be champions did so by being the best in their chosen sports. Unfortunately in their hope of becoming more or in the case of some remaining in the top form and spot, they make the mistake of getting the help unnaturally. Take for example Alberto Contador who is a three-time Tour de France champion who tested positive for a banned drug clenbuterol. Although it is said that only a very small concentration of this muscle-building and fat-burning drug has been found in the Spanish rider’s sample unfortunately both A and B samples tested positive. Alberto Contador, considered the greatest rider of his generation at 27 years old has been “formally and provisionally suspensed” according the International Cycling Union (UCI). There hasn’t been a statement yet whether Contador will be stripped off his title or banned.

Clenbuterol is a substance that has been used for over 20 to 30 years so it’s not something that can be inadvertently taken. Primarily, clenbuterol is s a sympathomimetic amine used by sufferers of breathing disorders as a decongestant and bronchodilator. Athletes taking the drug have one goal and that is to enhance muscle size and to burn fat. Simultaneously it can have short-term stimulant effects including increasing aerobic capacity, blood pressure and alertness. It has led to bans for cyclists in the past.

The Contador side released a statement insisting that food contamination as the only possible explanation for the result. And Canadian experts agree that the miniscule finding of the banned drug could have come from the meat because Clenbuterol which is fed to livestock to obtain leaner meats and it can be stored in their intramuscular fat.

What is sad is that this is not the first time athletes have had this problem nor is Contador the first athlete to be suspended. A number of athletes have been banned after testing positive including table tennis player Dimitrij Ovtcharov who is playing for Germany’s national team, Polish canoeist Adam Seroczynski, British hurdler Callum Priestley, Chinese Olympic judo champion Tong Wen, and St. Louis Cardinals Minor League shortstop Lainer Bueno. In 2008, American swimmer Jessica Hardy served a one-year suspension after she tested positive for this banned drug although the Court of Arbitration for Sports accepted her explanation of food supplement contamination and not intentional intake.

This surely should show athletes and those who want to pursue their love for their sport professionally that they really have to be more careful with what they take in, as they can ruin what you have worked hard for. Like I have always said, being worthy of the accolade of your fans and not simply the team you are in, the sportswear uniform you wear, the championships you win, and the fame and money that comes with it. More important is that you are someone who will be a good example for other people, especially the young fans. They look up to these sports superstars and they should be good models. Yes, they are human but they are not entitled to be bad. It's a good thing there are still some out there worthy enough to be called sports heroes.

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