tremendous increase Drug-testing experts have noticed a tremendous increase in the size, strength, and speed of players in international rugby since the sport went professional in 1995. Surveys done in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa have indicated that among the young, steroid use is much greater than 10 per cent. However, in these countries, there’s a paucity of drug testing in schools and clubs, where the temptation to dope is high, due to the reluctance of doping authorities to test in schools, and the relatively little financial resources to extend testing to clubs, not involved in international competition. In Jamaica, the new and impressive JADCO website gives no indication of testing by sport, so we do not know if rugby is one of the many sports under the scrutiny of the local testing agency. What we do know is that when it comes to doping, there is a very obvious ‘Catch 22’: Take it seriously and catch people (because there are cheats in every area of human activity), or pretend to take it seriously and catch nobody. Do the former and you have a drug problem. do the latter and no problem – until a superstar makes a mistake and the edifice of propriety collapses. British online media have been reporting on the out-of-competition activities of a Jamaican superstar, with a letter writer to a Jamaican newspaper wondering about the possibility of the superstar imbibing ‘spiked’ drinks at one of the establishments where he has been filmed. This concern ties in with the allegation in Jamaica that sporting superstars have been known to order take-out food in their own name and personally come to pick it up minutes later. The national disaster that would accompany a subsequent test that revealed an adverse analytical finding in a test done after a meal spiked by (paid) accomplices of jealous competitors would demand that JADCO-sponsored seminars re the dangers of using banned substances and supplements be mandatory for elite athletes, with serious sanctions for those who consistently ‘have other engagements’ when these seminars are put on. No one wants to curtail the fun of any young sports superstar, but the fact that young, rich stars attract friends with ulterior motives cannot and must not be overstressed and ignored. A word to the wise is sufficient. The World Championships in rugby enters its knockout stage this week, with the main stories focusing on the capitulation of the England team to Australia in a dramatic win-or-go-home match, thus becoming the first host to be eliminated from the competition before the quarter-finals; and the claims by a 20-year-old British player, Daniel Spencer-Tonks, that doping “is widespread” in the sport. Spencer-Tonks is a former under-15 international player, who was caught using the banned steroid stanozolol in February this year and who received a four-year ban from the United Kingdom Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD). As can be expected, the anti-doping testers in rugby in Britain have trotted out their statistics to reveal that of all the tests done, in and out of competition, only about 10 per cent reveal adverse analytical findings. They also state that more than 50 per cent of their tests are based on information received (target testing). This contrast (‘widespread doping’ versus ‘less than 10 per cent of tests positive’) highlights the belief that a significant percentage of sportsmen (and women) throughout all sports are using dope to cope with the demands of professional sports.
But there is a huge gap between United and swashbuckling Premier League champions City, who sealed the title with five games to spare thanks to United’s shock home loss to beleaguered West Brom last week.Lukaku believes the West Brom defeat is the kind of result that has cost his team but is confident the club has the strength in depth to win the title next season, even without the inevitable summer investment.“I’m really confident in my team-mates,” he said. “I think we can do it with the team we have now but we should have showed more consistency throughout the season.“For us now it is up to us to be more consistent and the manager needs to see if he has to add more players but with the players we have now, I think we have enough.”United have proven their mettle by winning important games against other top sides in recent weeks, including coming from behind against Tottenham on Saturday to reach the FA Cup final.But Lukaku, signed from Everton last year, is ultimately eyeing the Premier League title.“Winning the FA Cup would be nice but I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to end the season well, hopefully take second and that will prepare us really well for the final.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Romelu Lukaku says Manchester United can win the Premier League title next season © AFP/File / Glyn KIRKLONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 22 – Romelu Lukaku believes the current Manchester United squad can win next season’s Premier League, blaming a lack of consistency rather than quality for their inability to challenge Manchester City this season.Jose Mourinho’s men are on course to finish second in the Premier League after last season’s sixth-place finish — their highest position since Alex Ferguson bowed out as a champion in 2013.