Earlier this week, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released their annual Prohibited List of banned substances and methods for drug-tested sports. The full list can be found here.

A summary of the list’s purpose according to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), a signatory to WADA standards and codes.

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List is the comprehensive document serving as the international standard for identifying substances and methods prohibited in sport.

The list goes through updates almost every year, and with the advancement of doping technology — both for doping itself as well as testing — new substances, masking agencies, and methodologies are generally added. USADA’s website outlines some major changes this year, which include anabolic agents, growth factors, beta-2 antagonists, metabolic modulators, and stimulants.

The lists contains hundreds of substances currently banned from drug-tested competition (at least those competitions tested under WADA/USADA code). Which begs the question, how does a substance get considered for the WADA Prohibited List?

According to the USADA website:

Typically, a substance or method will be considered for the WADA Prohibited List if the substance or method meets any two of the following three criteria:

1. It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance
2. It represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete
3. It violates the spirit of sport

Among strength sports, weightlifting especially has been rocked by recent doping allegations and positive retests, specifically from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Numerous Olympic medal winners were provisionally suspended and barred from Rio competition after their samples from Beijing and/or London were retested using more advanced detection techniques developed in subsequent years; Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and potentially China face one-year bans from international weightlifting competition following three or more positive retests for their athletes.

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