GFA is bound by a policy on drugs in sport which is a minimum requirement set by the Australian Sports Commission of which GFA is a member. GFA sanctioned events are required to uphold the standards therein and abide by the requirements. What follows is a brief overview of the policy and its relationship to gliding.
This policy says that in certain situations (particularly during competitions) the Australian Sport Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) can test “athletes” who are competing, and if they are found to have been taking any banned substances then sanctions will be applied to those people. The banned substances are determined on a world-wide basis by WADA (the World Anti-Doping Authority, and this list is quite generic – the fact that a substance may enhance performance for one sport can mean that it is banned for everyone. Everyone entering National Competition is asked to sign an agreement to be bound by the ASADA rules and to submit to testing if required.
For anyone interested in knowing more, and particularly if you want to look at the list of banned substances, the ASADA website http://www.asada.gov.au/ is the best place to go. There is a “Check your substances” link which will allow you to confirm by brand name the status of any commercial or prescription medication that you may be taking. In the list of sports, I notice that Gliding is not included – I will get this fixed. In the meantime, choose Parachuting – it will be the same. Note also that the “whereabouts” register on the website is not relevant to gliding at any level.
There are very few substances that would be performance-enhancing for gliding, and so it is unlikely that anyone would take anything with the deliberate intent of improving performance. The greater risk is that we are unknowingly taking a banned substance because it was prescribed, or because it is in a dietary supplement. Some asthma medications contain banned substances, for example, as do certain drugs associated with heart disease. Another risk to note is that nearly all of the common recreational drugs are banned in competition, and some of these are detected by the testing process long after they are used.
While testing in gliding is uncommon, and has never yet been done in Australia, it has occurred at World Championships and under our agreement with ASADA it could happen at any Australian competition. It would be embarrassing to get caught even if it was an innocent mistake. A recent alert relates to a substance called methylhexaneamine is a good case where something could be taken unknowingly because it can be found in various nutritional supplements and is sometimes labelled as Flower oil Extract, or Geranium oil. There is no suggestion that it would have any performance enhancing effect in our sport, however that will make no difference if you are caught.
If anyone has specific questions please contact me directly. Note that I am in no way an expert on particular substances, and I have no wish to know your medical history or any other secrets. However I do have contacts in ASADA who can help, and I do understand the various processes involved. I should also say that I am simply telling you about some rules which are common to all sports and apply to gliding – my personal opinions are in no way involved in this and I have no comment on any of the legal or moral issues.
ASADA Contact Officer
From time to time The Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority (ASADA [ext]) authority release "Fact Sheets" or other alerts about prohibited drugs and the use of substances that could or will produce unwanted affects in the testing regime.