Levelling the playing field | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

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Levelling the playing field

The battle against the use of banned chemical aids in sports is hotting up, with the creation of a government agency to specifically target drug cheats

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The fate that befell champion cyclist Lance Armstrong _ stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life after the US Anti-Doping Agency found sufficient evidence to prove he had taken performance-enhancing drugs _ has once again put substance abuse by professional athletes under the spotlight. 

A huge variety of such stimulants are readily available, giving athletes an unfair advantage over opponents who don't take them, particularly in events that call for speed and/or endurance.

Doping in sports is not limited to a single continent, sadly. Thailand has had its fair share of athletes who have tested positive for banned substances. In the past decade, however, the number of new cases has decreased, said Dr Hilary Meechai Inwood, chief medical officer at the Sports Authority of Thailand's Sports Medicine Division. He attributes this drop to a greater effort by national teams and their coaches to comply with the international anti-doping code, with members undergoing regular blood tests to ensure that they stay "clean" both in and out of competition.

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