The news that Liverpool footballer Mamadou Sakho has tested positive for a banned substance comes as a shock to football lovers, and indeed, fans of sport around the world. Sakho tested positive after a Europa League match in which he played the full 90 minutes against Manchester United, helping his side to earn a draw, thus qualifying them for the next round. The banned substance has not been officially released, but information suggests that it is a ‘fat burner’ similar to the drug used by his friend and teammate Kolo Toure, who tested positive in 2011 and received a six-month ban. While Sakho is not banned by the administrative body controlling the Europa League (UEFA), he has been provisionally banned by his club, who now awaits the B sample result and the mandatory investigation. This blot on the integrity of sports is another in the spate of positives from icons in a variety of sports. In December last year, Pakistani leg spinner Yasir Shah tested positive for a banned substance (a diuretic and masking agent) after playing in a one-day international (ODI) against England in Abu Dhabi. Maria Sharapova, a tennis superstar, has admitted to using the banned drug Melindronate (Meldonium) “for years”. And the list seems to be endless. Everybody is looking for an edge. Elite athletes seem to be especially vulnerable to “expert” advice from confidants and medical acquaintances who promise a “boost” that is necessary to compete consistently at the highest level. It seems as if the standard advice from anti-doping agencies that you don’t need dope to cope is falling on deaf ears. The lure of these supplements seems to lie in the promise of “extra energy”, not weight loss as the name suggests. They work by increasing your heart rate and metabolism so that you feel less tired, and in the case of an elite footballer, these drugs allow you to play at a high level of output for 90 minutes. However, taken as supplements, these substances can have devastating effects. DMMA, (DimethoxyNmethylamphetamine and methylhexanamine) have been implicated in the death of a marathon runner in the 2012 London Marathon. I have noticed the spirited attempt at defending athletes who bought a supplement that supposedly guaranteed them faster sprint times but was found to contain methylhexanamine. These athletes were appropriately sanctioned, mainly in the hope of sending a message that would resonate in the local athletic community. One athlete, unfortunately, never competed again, but if memory serves me right, none of the other athletes affected in that sordid episode tested positive again. Message learnt! Sport fans around the world are very wary of some of the astounding performances that we see from time to time. Drug testers are under keen scrutiny as laboratories are being accused of reporting negative results on samples that contain banned substances, while one lab simply threw away the samples. Administrators, doctors, doping control officers, and chemists have all been named and implicated in protecting cheaters. But the fight for clean sport continues. Money seems to be the driving force in the continued effort to win at all costs. I do believe, however, that once anti-doping agencies are given the requisite funding and an appointment to these positions is no longer in the hands of politicians, the fight can be won. Clean sport is possible. Those who are caught cheating have no business in sports. Life bans, after investigation and hearings, must be the new international order.
COCKHILL CELTIC defender Peter Doherty has been named as the Watson Menswear Ulster Senior Legaue Player of the Month for October 2016.Doherty has helped lead Cockhill’s defence of their 4 Lanterns Ulster Senior League title while October also saw him captain the USL’s representative side to the FAI Intermediate Interprovincial Tournament in Cork.Cockhill are at the summit again and have a game in hand as well as a two-point advantage to Fanad United. “It was a good month,” Doherty reflected.“We started to get going and we started to play ball again.”Doherty believes that the recent revival at Fanad can only be good for the League.He said: “Fanad are strong again this season and that’s adding to the League.“It’s good to have a team pushing you on. We have a lot of very good teams competing in the League. It keeps you on your toes.”Cockhill haven’t lost an Ulster Senior League game in the last four seasons when they’ve won the title, but they have retained an insatiable appetite for success. Doherty said: “There has been a lot of success, but we have drive to do more. We don’t want to lose our unbeaten run in the League and just want to keep the good form going.”Doherty captained the USL side to the Intermediate Interprovincial Tournament in Cork, but a 2-0 loss to hosts Munster – after a 3-2 win over Leinster and a 2-0 win over Connacht – saw them leave empty handed.Doherty, who started in all three games, said: “We were disappointed not to win it on the last day. The one thing we couldn’t do was lose by two goals and that’s what we did.“We had two good wins before the last day and gave a good account of ourselves.”Cockhill are in FAI Intermediate Cup action this Sunday. Gavin Cullen’s side travel to Cork to face College Corinthians.Doherty, whose team beat last season’s finalists Letterkenny Rovers before recording a one-sided win over Swilly in round two, said: “Big time, we have to do something in the Intermediate. That’s the big aim now, to string a few games together. Letterkenny got momentum last year and saw it to the final. “We have nothing to fear. We’re talking about them, but I think they’ll be looking at our run too. We’re full of confidence. The bookies have them as favourites, but with the players we have and the squad we have, we’re confident.”Cockhill’s Peter Doherty suits Watson’s Menswear style of play was last modified: November 22nd, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:CockhilldonegalPeter DohertyUSL