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What athletes should know about unintentional doping

If an athlete is planning to take a supplement, he or she should discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives with a physician and performance nutritionist who is familiar with the medical history and training regimen.

Dr Saranjeet Singh

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Myriad athletes use supplements in their diet as part of regular training or competition, thus enabling more intense training by encouraging faster recovery between workouts, minimizing interference caused by disease or injury, and increasing competitive performance.

These supplements are often used without a full understanding or evaluation of the potential benefits and risks associated with their use, and without consultation with a sports nutrition professional. A few supplements may be helpful to athletes in specific circumstances, especially where food intake or food choice is restricted. Vitamin and mineral supplements should be used only when a food-based solution is not available. Sports drinks, energy bars, and protein–carbohydrate shakes may all be useful and convenient at specific times. There are well-documented roles for creatine, caffeine, and alkalinizing agents in enhancing performance in high-intensity exercise, although much of the evidence does not relate to specific athletic events.

There are potential costs associated with all dietary supplements, including the risk of a positive doping result as a consequence of the presence of prohibited substances that are not declared on the label. Such dietary supplements could make athletes unwitting drugs cheats and victims of unintentional doping. Unintentional doping refers to positive anti-doping tests due to the use of any supplement containing unlisted substances banned by anti-doping regulations and organizations, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

If an athlete is considering starting a supplement, he or she should take some time to discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives with a physician and performance nutritionist who is familiar with the medical history and training regimen. Dietary supplements can also contain substances that have not been confirmed as being essential to life, but are marketed as having a beneficial biological effect, such as plant pigments or polyphenols. Animals can also be a source of supplement ingredients, such as collagen from chickens or fish for example.

WHO NEEDS FOOD SUPPLEMENTS?

Supplements are not a substitute for a balanced healthy diet. A diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, adequate protein, and healthy fats should normally provide all the nutrients needed for good health. Dietary supplements can play an important role in an athletic diet. Eating whole foods is by far the best way to supply your body with the myriad plant-derived, health-benefiting phytochemicals, but today’s food supply can’t provide all of the basic vitamins, minerals and some other essential nutrients. Our food simply won’t even meet the nutrient needs of average people, let alone athletes. While there are very few supplements backed by scientific evidence to enhance athletic performance, there are some shown to be helpful for exercise and recovery. Whether you’re an active adult, athlete working alone, or have hired a sports nutrition specialist, it’s important to stay current on supplement research.

MANAGING SUPPLEMENT RISKS

Sports supplements represent a multi-million dollar industry. Active adults and athletes are often enticed by effective supplement marketing. The promises of enhanced performance among other claims are motivating factors to purchase alternative nutrition to achieve results. Lack of supplement regulation and quality control may mean unreliable and ineffective products are being used. Using supplements inappropriately can result in unintended effects on an athlete’s health and competition status. Nutritional supplements are not regulated through the same process as standard medications, and there is considerable variation in the quality, purity, and effect of the active ingredients among different products.

There are no guarantees that any supplement product is free from banned substances and athletes must be fully aware of the risks to their career if they chose to use a supplement product.

WADA, NADA or any other anti-doping organisation is not able to endorse or approve supplement products, and any product claiming it is ‘safe for athletes to take’ should be used with extreme caution. If a company claims their product has been approved and/or certified by WADA or NADA, this statement is inaccurate.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

Assess the need: seek advice from a qualified medical professional to determine whether you need to use a supplement.

If you chose to use a supplement product, only use batch-tested supplement products to minimise your risks of contamination.

Athletes are also advised to exercise good judgment and avoid products with suspicious and exaggerated claims or names, which include marketing performance terms such as “stacked,” “muscle,” “mass,” “tren,” “bol,” “anabolic” or “legal steroid,” “power,” “blast,” “energy,” “stimulant” and similar terms.

Assess the consequences to your career prior to using any supplement product. You could receive a four-year ban.

The ongoing problem of dietary supplement mislabelling continues to create a risky environment for athletes. Unfortunately, due to the current permissive regulations governing the supplement industry, NADA cannot give guarantees to athletes regarding which products are safe and free from contamination. Athletes need to be aware that they assume the risks of adverse health outcomes and positive anti-doping tests when choosing to take supplements.

Writer is a fitness & sports medicine specialist. Views expressed are his personal.

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EVERYONE IS EXCITED TO PERFORM WELL IN QUALIFIERS, SAYS DHEERAJ SINGH

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Indian U-23 goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh expressed his happiness on being in the U23 camp in Dubai for the forthcoming qualifiers for the AFC U23 Asian Cup.

The U23 camp in Dubai for the forthcoming qualifiers for the AFC U23 Asian Cup comprises 20 players who have been part of Indian Arrows, and a total of 18 players who have been part of the AIFF Academy set-up some time or the other. “Everyone waits to meet their childhood friends once again – don’t they? We have all been friends or brothers for a long. Life is always good when you are surrounded by friends. The exceptional part among us is that there is no rivalry ever between any of us. The new boys have also experienced it,” said Dheeraj.

“Everyone is excited and looking forward to use this opportunity to perform well in the qualifiers. We are having a great environment inside the team. And we have got good new players adding up quality to the team,” he added.

Indian midfielder Princeton Rebello, who wasn’t a part of the U-17 World Cup squad but was part of the Academy system for the U19 National Team, and also the Indian Arrows, stated that he is ‘honoured’ to wear the National colours.

“It feels great to be back with the squad. It’s an honour for me to wear the national colours again. I will give my everything, and everyone is motivated to do well,” said Rebello.

India will play Oman in their first match of the Qualifiers of the AFC U23 Asian Cup on October 24 which will be followed by matches against UAE and Kyrgyz Republic respectively.

The U23 camp in Dubai for the forthcoming qualifiers for the AFC U23 Asian Cup comprises 20 players who have been part of Indian Arrows.

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My dream was always to do something like Ayrton Senna, says F1 champion Louis Hamilton

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Seven times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he always dreamt of featuring in Formula One and wanted to replicate former Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna’s feat.

Hamilton, who has 100 race wins to his name, said to have seven titles under his belt is “crazy” as he didn’t think of achieving the milestone when he started racing. “My dream was always to get to Formula One, to do something like Ayrton Senna — he had three world titles. And then to see myself match him at one point, and then go beyond that,” CNN quoted Hamilton as saying.

“To think that I’m here today, where most people don’t even get one championship and to have seven is very, very crazy still,” he added.

The Formula One world champion, who is eyeing the eighth title when he takes on the field in United States Grand Prix, said he competes in every tournament as if it was his first.

“But every year when I come back, it’s like a reset. Like, I’m not a champion. I have no titles. I’m going for the first,” said Hamilton.

“That’s kind of my mentality. But an eighth? I don’t know. I never really say,” he added.

Hamilton competes in Formula One for Mercedes. In July this year, Hamilton had signed a two-year contract extension with Mercedes.

The deal will keep him in F1 with the Silver Arrows until at least the end of 2023.

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INDIA, ENGLAND TO CONCLUDE TEST SERIES NEXT YEAR

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The fifth match of the Test Series between India and England’s men’s teams has been rescheduled and will now take place in July 2022.

The match, which was supposed to take place last month at Emirates Old Trafford, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID-19 cases inside the camp.

With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)Last month, Indian physio Yogesh Parmar had contracted COVID-19 ahead of the fifth Test against England.

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T20 WC: Top order key for both sides in Sunday’s India vs Pakistan clash

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In the T20 World Cup opening match of the second group between India and Pakistan, a big responsibility will be on the top order of both the teams, whose top order went is a 75 percent guarantee to win the match.

India’s top order will be headed by Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Surya Kumar Yadav while Pakistan’s top order will be led by Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhr Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez.

If we look at the performance of the last ten matches, Pakistan’s top order has scored a lot of runs, while the Indian top order has improved their strike rate tremendously in this format. Looking at the performance of the last ten matches, Rohit Sharma`s SR is around 150 and Virat Kohli`s 145 while Surya Kumar Yadav’s SR has reached around 170. Although there is also a truth that Surya has played only four matches against England and Sri Lanka, in which he did not get a chance to bat on one occasion.

Rohit also played two 60 plus innings against NZ, while England and Australia batsmen have not been able to get out Virat Kohli in three out of four innings. KL Rahul is the only player in the top order who has the lowest average and strike rate in these ten matches. The big reason for this is his miserably failure against England.

On the other hand, Mohammad Rizwan has been the highest run-scorer in both the teams while Babar Azam has been second in this order but both of them have a much lower strike rate than Virat and Rohit. This should not at all mean that these players do not have the ability to improve the strike rate. Who can forget Babar Azam’s innings against South Africa in Centurion when Babar scored a century with a strike rate of over 200.

Similarly, his innings in Nottingham was an example of a good strike rate. Similarly, Rizwan was also successful in bringing his strike rate around 155 in both these innings. If not, many runs have been scored with the bat of Fakhr Zaman, then he has left all the players of his team behind in these ten matches in terms of strike rate. Be it his 8-ball 26 in Nottingham or his 34-ball 60 in Centurion. He has really done his team balle-balle.

Talking about Mohammad Hafeez, he has disappointed in these ten matches. In batting average as well as in strike rate. Fortunately, he has proved to be a very economical bowler in the bowling.

Obviously, looking at the T20 format, Team India’s top order is more effective due to their better strike rate.

The much-awaited high-octane clash between India and Pakistan in the upcoming T20 World Cup will take place on October 24 (Sunday) in Dubai. Pakistan has not defeated India in a World Cup match across both ODIs and T20Is.

In Group 2, India will then face New Zealand and Afghanistan, the emerging force in T20 cricket, plus the winners of Group B and runners-up from Group A.

The ICC men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE and Oman got underway on Sunday and the final will be played in Dubai on November 14.

Pakistan’s top order has scored a lot of runs, while the Indian top order has improved their strike rate tremendously in this format. Looking at the performance of the last ten matches.

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NAMIBIA DEFEATS IRELAND TO QUALIFY FOR SUPER 12S

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Namibia skipper Gerhard Erasmus played a crucial knock of 53 runs as his side defeats Ireland by eight wickets in Group A of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah on Friday.

With this win, Namibia has progressed from Group A to the Super 12 stages. As a result of finishing at the top of Group A, Scotland will join India’s group featuring Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan. Chasing 126, Namibia got off to a steady start as opener Craig Williams was set back for 15 runs by Curtis Campher, leaving their total as 25/1 after 5.1 overs.

Erasmus then joined the wicket-keeper Zane Green, who played a knock-off 24 runs of 32 balls. Ireland got their second breakthrough after 13.2 overs, as Campher once again took a wicket and sent Green back to the dug-out.

Following Green’s dismissal, David Weise and Erasmus played anchor innings of 28 and 53 runs, respectively, and took Namibia home by eight wickets.

Earlier in the match, Ireland started off well, as their first shock came after 62 runs in 7.2 overs. Namibia’s Jan Frylinck scalped three wickets and restricted Ireland at 125/8.

Ireland’s batter Stirling played a knock of 38 runs of 24 balls and brought his team to a decent total.

Brief scores: Ireland 125/8 (Stirling 38, Kevin O’Brien 25; Curtis Campher 2-14); Namibia 126/2 (Gerhard Erasmus 53, David Weise 28; Jan Frylinck 3-21).

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Sri Lanka beat Netherlands by 8 wickets to enter the Super 12 stage on a high

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Lahiru Kumara and Wanindu Hasaranga picked three wickets each as Sri Lanka thrashed Netherlands by eight wickets in the final Round 1 match of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup on Friday.

Sri Lanka bowled the Netherlands out for just 44 in 10 overs and then chased down the target in 7.1 overs to finish the qualifying stage of the showpiece event with three wins from three games. Chasing 45 runs, Sri Lanka didn’t get off to a good start as the side lost opener Pathum Nissanka in the second over. Kusal Perera then took Sri Lanka over the line in the eighth over.

Sri Lanka did lose Charith Asalanka’s wicket in the sixth over but the side got home comfortably in the end.

Earlier put into bat first, Netherlands got off to a bad start that only worsened in the subsequent overs. After losing Max ODowd in the first over, the Netherlands have lost three wickets in three overs in Group A.

Wickets kept falling at regular intervals and Netherlands were soon found reeling at 37/6 at the end of six overs. The Pieter Seelaar-led side was eventually folded for 44/10 in 10 overs.

Earlier in the day, Namibia made history by qualifying for the T20 World Cup 2021 Super 12 stage in their very first appearance at the tournament after beating Ireland.

Namibia timed their chase of Ireland’s 125 for eight to perfection as a half-century from skipper Gerhard Erasmus and pyrotechnics from David Wiese led Namibia, to a phenomenal eight-wicket victory.

Meanwhile, Netherlands all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate announced on Friday that he has played his final international cricket match.

Ten Doeschate played his last match when the Netherlands locked horns with Namibia on Wednesday in the T20 World Cup. Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the legendary Dutch international played his first international match in 2006.

“It’s been a tough tour to finish on but it’s been a pleasure to be a part of the efforts again. It has always been a privilege to represent The Netherlands,” Doeschate said in a statement as per Cricket Netherlands (KNCB)

“I’m grateful to the players, coaches and everyone involved with the KNCB for allowing me to have enjoyed some of the spectacular highs of international cricket,” he added.

Brief Scores: Netherlands 44/10 (Colin Ackermann 11; Lahiru Kumara 3-7, Hasaranga 3-9) vs Sri Lanka 45/2 (Kusal Perera 33*; Brandon Glover 1-12)

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