More research needed on hypoxic chambersSubscribe
Russell Langley 17 August 2006
More research on the safety and efficacy of artificially-induced hypoxic conditions is required before their inclusion on the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods in Sport can be considered. That is the conclusion of UK Sport in its submission to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as part of the consultation process for the 2007 List.
In consulting on the List, WADA had put together a paper on hypoxic conditions which considered whether it met two of the three required attributes to merit inclusion on the List, namely the potential to enhance performance, the potential to pose a health risk to the athlete, and the violation of the spirit of sport. The paper concluded that whilst the issue of health risk was inconclusive, there was evidence of the performance enhancement from using such methods and that their use does violate the spirit of sport.
However, after seeking opinion from expert scientists and ethicists in the UK, UK Sport highlight a number of issues that need to be addressed before a decision to ban such methods can be made.
"In many ways, the debate comes down to whether or not the use of hypoxic chambers is deemed to be ethical, and therefore against the spirit of sport," said Allison Holloway, Education and Information Manager at UK Sport. "WADA put forward an interesting argument but we feel the banning of hypoxic chambers begins to blur the fair and enforceable line where we can determine whether or not a doping offence has been committed.
"On a more practical level, there is currently no realistic solution for the regulatory control of hypoxic chambers so there would be no way of monitoring its use or misuse if it was added to the List. This, we believe, would threaten the credibility of the List at a time when we are making great strides in further improving the confidence athletes and support staff have in the anti-doping system."
With the List consultation period now over, WADA’s List Committee will consider all the submissions and issue the updated List in October, ready for implementation on 1 January 2007.