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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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Chelsea has culture and history to win titles: Thomas Tuchel

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LONDON

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has said that the club has the history and culture to win titles again and again.

Chelsea has not lifted a trophy since their 2019 Europa League success under Maurizio Sarri. The side remains in contention for the Champions League and FA Cup this season. The Blues will look to seal a place in the last four of the Champions League on Tuesday when they face Porto in the second leg of their quarter-final.

“We are in the second leg of the quarter-final of the Champions League, you will not find any team who does not have the goal to reach the semi-final. We are in the semi-final of the FA Cup and have the chance to arrive in the final, if we arrive in the final then we have the chance to win. There is nothing to hide. This is a club that has a culture, a structure, to win titles and win games consecutively. Chelsea is the club that has the culture and the history and mentality to do so,” Goal.com quoted Tuchel as saying.

“I am here to win titles, I am here to win games and as a result, win titles.

This is what I demand of myself so why should we now say anything different? If you want to win in five years or three years, I don’t know what that is,” he added.

Further talking about the upcoming match against Porto, Tuchel said: “Now is the time but honestly we can talk for hours and hours but tomorrow is the game to play and there is no tougher match than the next game, there is no tougher obstacle than the one in front of you and we should not get lost in dreams, hopes, and speeches or whatever.”

“We are here to perform in the second leg of the quarter-final, this is what we do, and then hopefully after tomorrow we can talk about a semi-final,” he added.

Tuchel’s team has a 2-0 advantage from the first leg of their tie against Porto and this makes them favourites to reach the next round. The winner of the tie will go on to face either Real Madrid or Liverpool in the semifinals.

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WILLIAMSON AWARDED SIR RICHARD HADLEE MEDAL

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DUBAI

New Zealand men’s captain Kane Williamson on Tuesday was awarded the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal for the fourth time in six years, while Amelia Kerr and Devon Conway claimed double honours at the New Zealand Cricket Awards for the 2020-21 season.

Williamson’s incredible home Test summer helped him claim the supreme award, along with the International Test Player of the Year and the Redpath Cup for first-class batting, after he amassed a whopping 639 runs in just four innings at an average of 159. In bowler-friendly conditions, Williamson, the ICC ranked number one Test batsman recorded his top international score of 251 against the West Indies at Seddon Park in Hamilton, then a Boxing Day Test century on his home ground of Bay Oval in Tauranga, before adding another double-century against Pakistan at Hagley Oval in Christchurch — to help the BlackCaps book their place in the ICC World Test Championship final against India.

“Going into the Test summer — there was that Championship Final carrot and there was a real drive there for the guys. Although it seemed a long way off, winning four tests before you’ve started one is a pretty lofty goal and we knew we just had to try and play as well as we could and commit to what was in front of us,” said Williamson in an official NZC release.

“To do that for a long period of time and to spend some time at the crease personally and make contributions towards that … certainly pretty proud as a leader and a player in this side that we were able to achieve some of those things and we’re looking forward to that final,” he added.

Williamson also made special mention of the International Test Player of the Year award.

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RCB’s batting arsenal to clash with SRH’s spinners

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How Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) star batsmen AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell deal with SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) spinner Rashid Khan could be decisive in the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between the two teams on Wednesday at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

RCB pacer Harshal Patel’s contest with SRH’s middle and lower order will also be an interesting affair. A buoyant Patel, who took five wickets against Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener, will be raring to go again in the death overs. On Tuesday, he told media how he is relishing the new-found responsibility.

SRH, who lost their last match narrowly to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), will need to start well. A couple of early wickets against KKR had set them back and even though Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey tried their best, they fell short.

SRH have used an interesting tactic this time. Up until last season they found success largely thanks to captain David Warner and Bairstow’s opening partnership. In the previous game, they let Wriddhiman Saha, who had played some brilliant knocks towards the end of the previous season, open along with Warner and Bairstow came in at No.4. SRH will be concerned about their fast bowling. Both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma went for too many runs against KKR.

Devdutt Padikkal will probably return to the top of the order for RCB. Padikkal was rested from the previous game following his recovery from Covid-19 and in his absence, RCB opened with captain Virat Kohli and Washington Sundar, who failed to get going. The return of Padikkal, who was in great form in the Vijay Hazare one-dayers, bodes well for RCB. SRH’s new-ball bowlers will have to get rid of Padikkal and Kohli quickly if they are to give their spinners some backing and freedom to bowl at RCB’s hard-hitting middle order comprising Maxwell and de Villiers.

RCB’s spin bowling has been the weak link, unlike SRH, and Yuzvendra Chahal, who is having a poor run of form, will have to raise the bar. Chahal was wicketless against Mumbai Indians and gave away as many as 41 runs at an economy of 10.25.

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

Strengths:

• Top order is the main strength of this team

• Bhuvneshwar, T. Natarajan, Rashid, and Nabi

Weaknesses:

• Lower middle-order is a deep concern

• Openers did no last long on the crease during the last match

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE

Strengths:

• Top order has batsmen like Virat, de Villiers and Maxwell.

• Devdutt Padikkal is back.

• Mohammed Siraj and Harshal Patel are confident after performing well against MI.

Weaknesses:

• Spin bowling department is underperforming.

TEAM ANALYSISSUNRISERS HYDERABAD

Strengths:

• Top order is the main strength of this team

• Bhuvneshwar, T. Natarajan, Rashid, and Nabi

Weaknesses:

• Lower middle-order is a deep concern

• Openers did no last long on the crease during the last match

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE

Strengths:

• Top order has batsmen like Virat, de Villiers and Maxwell.

• Devdutt Padikkal is back.

• Mohammed Siraj and Harshal Patel are confident after performing well against MI.

Weaknesses:

• Spin bowling department is underperforming.

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BHUVNESHWAR, LIZELLE LEE BAG ICC AWARDS FOR MARCH

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced the winners of the ICC Player of the Month Awards for March which recognise and celebrates the best performances from both male and female cricketers across all forms of international cricket.

India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar won the ICC Men’s Player of the Month for March for his impressive performances in India’s recently concluded series against England. He was the standout bowler on either side in the white-ball series and was chosen the winner by fans and the ICC voting academy. Reacting to the win Bhuvneshwar Kumar said: “After what seemed like a really long and painful gap, I was delighted to be playing for India again. I used the time away to work on my fitness and skill and I am happy to be back taking wickets for my country. I would like to thank each and every person who helped me in this journey starting with my family and friends and my teammates. Also, a special thank you to the ICC voting academy and all the fans who voted for me and made me the ICC Men’s Player of the Month for March.”

From the South African camp, Lizelle Lee who played four ODIs against India where she scored a century and two half-centuries to move to the top of the ICC Women’s ODI Batting Rankings, was deservingly named the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for March.

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Mumbai Indians defeat KKR in a thriller

Chasing 153, KKR got off to a perfect start as the openers Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill stitched a 72-run stand for the first wicket. But MI made a comeback as Chahar and Boult bowled brilliantly, and KKR succumbed to defeat by 10 runs.

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Rahul Chahar spun a web while Trent Boult executed perfect yorkers in the death overs to snatch victory for the Mumbai Indians from the jaws of defeat against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.

Andre Russell’s five-wicket haul had bundled Mumbai Indians out for 152 after batsman Suryakumar Yadav’s gutsy knock. In response, KKR was restricted to 142/7 thanks to an all-rounder bowling performance from Mumbai Indians. KKR were right on the track for an easy win but Chahar spun a web and removed the top four batsmen before Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult’s fiery spell handed Mumbai Indians the match.

Chasing 153, KKR got off to a perfect start as the openers Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill stitched a 72-run stand for the first wicket. The duo made full use of the powerplay and smashed 45 runs in the first six overs.

Chahar provided Mumbai Indians the first breakthrough as Gill in an attempt to go for back-to-back sixes got out in the ninth over.

Minutes later Chahar picked his second wickets for the day as he dismissed Rahul Tripathi for a paltry five in the 11th over to reduce KKR to 84/2.

Nitish and Eoin Morgan scripted a brief partnership of 20 runs. However, Chahar wreaked havoc and dismissed the KKR skipper in the 13th over.

With Nitish’s wicket, Chahar removed KKR’s top order to turn the game in Mumbai Indians’ favour in the 15th over.

In the next over, Krunal Pandya joined the party and dismissed Shakib Al Hasan as KKR lost half of their side with 31 runs still needed in 28 balls.

Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik then played sluggish knocks in order to not lose any wicket but the batsmen still failed to get KKR over the line.

Earlier after being asked to bat first, Mumbai Indians suffered an early jolt as the side lost opener Quinton de Kock in the second over. Varun Chakravarthy bamboozled the South African batsman on the last ball of his first over.

Rohit played a cautious knock but Suryakumar dealt in boundaries as he brought up his half-century with a six. However, after smashing the fifty, ‘SKY’ got out in an attempt to whack the ball around but failing to get all of it.

And in the death overs, Mumbai Indians failed to get going and kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

Russell dismissed Kieron Pollard and Marco Jansen in the 18th over as Mumbai Indians collapsed from 115/3 to 126/7.

Krunal Pandya tried to hit some shots towards the end of the innings but he faltered in order to whack every ball in the final over as Mumbai Indians touched the 150-run mark.

Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 152 (Suryakumar Yadav 56, Rohit Sharma 32; Andre Russell 5-15); KKR 142/7 (Nitish Rana 57, Shubman Gill 33; Rahul Chahar 4-27)

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SEHWAG REVEALS HOW DRAVID LOST HIS COOL WITH DHONI

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Rahul Dravid’s Cred advertisement has made rounds on the social media as the former batsman is seen in the angry avatar. Dravid, in the advert, was seen in a completely different demeanor— Indranagar Ka Goonda— losing his cool and shouting at the top of his voice while being stuck at a traffic signal in Bengaluru.

In the advertisement that has gone viral, the former India batsman was seen breaking rear-view mirrors of a nearby car and even throwing a coffee cup at the windowpane of a car driven by an elderly person.

While Rahul Dravid’s fuming avatar was something that the world hadn’t seen, his former teammate Virender Sehwag has a different story to tell.

Revealing an ODI game in which MS Dhoni was batting with the legendary batsman from Bengaluru, Sehwag said that Dravid lost his cool with the wicketkeeper, who was then still in the budding stages of his career.

“I have seen Rahul Dravid get angry. When we were in Pakistan and MS Dhoni had been a newcomer, he played a shot and got caught at point. Dravid was very angry with MS Dhoni,” Sehwag told Cricbuzz.

“’That’s the way you play? You should finish the game.’ I was myself taken aback by the storm of English from Dravid, I didn’t understand half of it.”

Sehwag added that MSD was actually wary of another angry outburst from Rahul Dravid, saying the power-hitting batsman abstained from hitting biggies in the following match. When Sehwag asked Dhoni why, MSD had told him about his cautious approach.

“But when MS Dhoni next came in to bat, I could see he was not hitting shots much. I went and asked him what was wrong. He said he did not want to be scolded by Dravid again. ‘I will finish quietly and go back,’ Dhoni said,” Sehwag added.

Myriad cricketers and fans have reacted to Rahul Dravid’s viral advertisement video. India skipper Virat Kohli took to social media and expressed surprise at Rahul Dravid’s surprising outburst.

Dravid’s former India and Karnataka teammate Dodda Ganesh also had an fascinating memory to share. The former India pacer shared a rare clip from a domestic game in which Dravid was spotted being animated in the dressing room.

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