‘Enhanced Games’ plan condemned
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‘Enhanced Games’ plan condemned

Drug-enhanced competition could lead to exploitation of athletes, sports medicine body warns

A protest banner is seen at the Tour de France in 2006. Cycling is among the sports in which many competitors have been found to have used performance-enhancing substances. (Photo: Wladyslaw via Wikimedia Commons)
A protest banner is seen at the Tour de France in 2006. Cycling is among the sports in which many competitors have been found to have used performance-enhancing substances. (Photo: Wladyslaw via Wikimedia Commons)

Young athletes could be exploited if the controversial Enhanced Games are allowed to go ahead, the International Federation of Sports Medicine (Fims) has warned.

The Enhanced Games — touted as “the Olympics of the future” by their backers — would allow athletes to use pharmacological or technological assistance, including substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

The concept has been met with widespread criticism, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Wada and World Athletics having denounced the proposed competition.

Enhanced Games president Aron D’Souza, a London-based Australian businessman, has insisted that the competition would conduct rigorous health testing.

“Backed by the world’s top venture capitalists, the Enhanced Games are the Olympics of the future,” the organisers’ website declares.

“When 44% of athletes already use performance enhancements, it is time to safely celebrate science.

“It’s time to pay athletes instead of bureaucrats, and demonstrate what the human body is truly capable of.”

The organisers — American tech billionaire Peter Thiel is another backer — hope to stage the first Enhanced Games in 2025 but details about the dates and venue have not yet been announced.

The website says five core categories of sports — athletics, aquatics, gymnastics, strength and combat — will be featured.

Fims said it welcomes the decision by the Enhanced Games to conduct medical screening, but warned that current technology could not ensure the safety of athletes or mitigate the health hazards of many banned substances.

In a statement published on Friday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Fims president Fabio Pigozzi said the federation’s priority was to safeguard “scientific analysis, study of the physical condition of the individual, and protection of health”.

“These principles are incongruent with the current philosophy and mission of the Enhanced Games,” Pigozzi said.

“The grave concern of Fims is that young individuals will be exploited in the quest for fame and fortune and the allure of the Enhanced Games.”

Enhanced Games did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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