So this week, Christine Ohuruogu was banned from competing in Athletics for one year, which by default means she’s banned from representing the UK in the Olympic Games. She was banned, as you have probably read, for missing 3 consecutive out-of-competition drugs tests. Unsurprisingly, she is “devestated” at this news. Her people are planning to appeal. Now, whatever the reason for these three consecutive missed tests, the punishment for missing those tests seems fair to me.
When Rio Ferdinand missed one drugs test in 2003, he was banned for eight months. Again, this was judged harsh when players who had failed tests were banned for less time. However there was a comment I heard then that I think applies now – the punishment for missing a test must be worse than the punishment for failing one. Think about it – if you knew you were going to fail and the punishment if you missed it was less, you’d just skip the test.
Football and athletics are different though – footballers are usually done for having recreational, rather than performance boosting substances in their bodies. Athletics unfortunately has a much bigger problem (see Justin Gaitlin, etc), hence the need for regular testing. This leads to a question though – why was Christine Ohuruogu punished for missing three drugs tests? Why not one? For a sport that really needs to clean up it’s image, it seems very odd. I would have thought it would make the chances of you accidentally missing a drugs test much smaller as well, because you have no leeway.
So it seems that Christine Ohuruogu is a victim of circumstance rather than anything else. Does the fault lie with the seemingly cavalier attitude to drugs that her sport has? Probably, so I hope those in the right places look after her well.