The margins at the top of competitive sports are consistently becoming finer and athletes are always searching for ways to gain an advantage. This may mean developing new athletic techniques, using new equipment, or devising new training regimes, but illegal means are also being used as a shortcut to success. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has a global remit to identify and eliminate the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), and create a level playing field in the process.
WADA guidelines are complex and evolving, so they should be constantly monitored by nutrition and health experts involved in sports performance careers. This agency’s code of anti-doping policies has been accepted by over 660 sporting organizations, including the International Olympic Committee and national anti-doping organizations. Its authority must be respected, so here’s a closer look at its history and structures.
WADA Is a Response to Global Doping Fears in Recent Decades
High profile doping incidents, including the notorious Festina affair in the 1998 Tour de France, prompted a global rethink to drug eradication in sport. WADA was established in response to such fears in 1999, and it is headquartered in Montréal, Canada. It’s funded equally by the Olympic Movement and world governments, and its Foundation Board and Executive Committee is also composed equally from both sides.
Its core values are integrity, accountability, and excellence, and its stated vision is to see “a world where all athletes can compete in a doping-free sporting environment”. The acceptance of the WADA code by over 660 of the world’s most important sporting organizations reflects its power. Top-level athletes and those working around them, including graduates of nutrition and health training, make sure to closely follow their rules or else risk suspension from sport.
What to Know about the WADA Code ahead of Nutrition and Health Training
The World Anti-Doping Code has been in force since 2004, and it reflects the Agency’s overall purpose in the battle against performance enhancing drugs. These universal rules are accepted by WADA’s member organizations and include a list of prohibited substances. The rules for some of these items can vary between sports, and whether they are being used in or out of competition.
The Code also outlines rules for effective athlete testing as well as the maintenance of thorough, well-run lab facilities. WADA has also developed a strong framework to ensure that private information collected during testing is adequately protected. These rules are regularly updated and offer a necessary set of standardized anti-doping rules between nations and sports organizations.
WADA Has Gained Notoriety through High-Profile Doping Discoveries
A comprehensive diploma in nutrition includes insight into anti-doping practices, and WADA has generated for itself a high profile in this field. It backed the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s shocking findings against Lance Armstrong, which eventually led to the American cyclist being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
Russia’s anti-doping agency, RUSADA, has been declared ‘non-compliant’ with WADA’s Anti-Doping Code since 2015, after it accused the country of running a state-sponsored doping programme, something which Russia hasn’t admitted. WADA has devised a roadmap for Russia to follow to get it in line with international code, but there is ongoing tension between both sides about these requirements. This reflects the power of WADA in the global fight against doping. For nutritionists who care deeply about keeping sports honest, WADA’s hard work offers plenty of inspiration and insight.
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