Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Should Russia be banned

The recent doping scandal in International Athletics comes as no real surprise. International Sport is no longer the domain of extra ordinary men and women who want to  become the very best in their sport overcoming all forms of adversity it has now become a vehicle for Governments to prove their systems of Government is superior to others. That is why all major sports are Professional because in their mind the only way to achieve this is through financial reward, we now have the situation where some Athletes become very rich because of their sport

Some may say that is only right that they have put the effort in why shouldn’t they receive financial reward BUT where has the old ethos gone where you competed to prove you were the best and that was your only reward? For those us who had been around along time that was called being an Amateur. The word Amateur in today’s society is treated in distain, is used as an insult for example 
“ The competition was terrible it was very Amateurish” or “Their approach was very Amateurish” In my younger days the word Amateur was treated with reverence it meant not accepting the corrupting influence of financial gain, it was associated with individuals and teams working and training hard for enjoyment and the strive for perfection for perfection sake. 

Of course times move on and now some athletes no longer have the worry of financing themselves they have Tax Payers money to fund their training and some even brag they have a couple of mortgages because of this Tax Payers money.  Do we Taxpayers get value for money? if winning Olympic medals is the criteria the answer must be YES. Yet the problems is UKSport Grant money to Governing Bodies is only available to Sports who can produce Olympic medals or have the ability to produce Olympic medals. So the question is this good use of Taxpayers money? I think not if you want more people involved in Sport. You all know the benefits of Sport so why isn’t the money shared amongst all Governing Bodies? I go back to what I said earlier that International Sport is about Governments all over the World trying to create an illusion through Sport that there system of Government is superior to others and the popularity of a Government rises when it wins Olympic Medals. 2012 London Olympics was a prime example. However since 2012, the number of people practicing sport for at least 30 minutes at moderate intensity at least once a week has slowly declined. Most recently the number of people participating in sport once a week fell by 222,000 compared with October 2014. So just supporting Sports that win Olympic medals does not encourage people to do sport.
So International Sport and especially the Olympics has become a spectator event so with the pressure to win medals being paramount. So why do we act surprised that athletes take drugs or Governing bodies turn a blind eye. In this UK winning is the only criteria for funding. Surely the whole ethos of UKSport is get people doing sport the present funding is not doing this.
As for Russian giving state authorisation for the use of drugs in sport this is has yet to be authenticated. It is somewhat interesting that the West has had political attacks against Putin’s Russia so once again it is no surprised that the only country so far being investigated is Russia but are we to believe that Russia is the only country to have drug-taking athletes? Even if it were true that the Russian State sanctioned use of drugs it would be nearly impossible to prove. So the banning of Russia from all International Sport would be unfair on all Russian Athletes who have not taken drugs plus how many other countries would be affected?
Has anyone thought of the repercussions a ban on Russia would have to the Sporting World, do you think any Olympic Games would be a true Olympic without a Russian team and I expect many other Countries would withdraw as well. How long would it be that Russia and its allies come up with an alternative Olympics this could see the complete division of the Olympic movement. The International Athletics Association must take some of the blame for this debacle as if they had checked every athlete at the time of the Olympics those on drugs would have been banned.
I personally disagree with all drug abuse but I wonder if those complaining the most have the same feelings about Recreational Drug use? And have they taken drugs themselves? Many claim it is cheating with drug users getting an unfair advantage but the same could be said of countries who fund their athletes to train full time who they then compete against other countries whose athletes are not funded?

Martin Clarke 
1980 Olympic Judo Squad (reserve) World Sambo Silver x 3 World Jiu Jitsu Silver. FIAS Grandmaster, Judo 8th Dan, Jiu Jitsu 6th Dan Founder CombatSombo System 

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