Skip to main content

Howman: Reform needed in anti-doping fight

WADA President John Fajey (l) and Director General David Howman earlier this year.

WADA President John Fajey (l) and Director General David Howman earlier this year. (Image credit: AFP)

David Howman, the director general of the WADA, says that there needs to be a re-think in the way his organisation and others go about the fight against doping. According to the AFP, despite more than 250,000 tests being carried out in the last year, only 36 came back as positive for EPO, which Howman describes as the "drug of choice for [endurance athletes]".

"Do you think that we have the science to track those who dope in a sophisticated manner? Personally, I don't think we do," Howman said to a conference in Paris. "We are catching the dopey dopers, but not the sophisticated ones."

"It is pathetic. We must increase quality and efficiency if we want to continue the fight."

Howman also pointed to the institutional involvment of those creating the avenues for people to dope as just as important in tackling the problem.

"How many doctors or lawyers have been struck off because of involvement in doping?"

He also added that it was concerning to see the growth in PED markets, and not seeing the same increase in positive tests.

"We have to show concern," said Howman of the worrying trend. "The traffic of steroids is more lucrative than the traffic of heroin. [People need to realise] this is a public health issue, as well as a sporting issue."

Howman's comments come a week after the decision by WADA to scrap research funding for the "plasticizer" test on the basis that there was difficulty definitively proving the chemical originated from transfusion equipment and not food packaging.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1