Just Don't Do It



    Republished courtesy of Go Tenpin Magazine (April 2006 issue)

    2006SteveLetchford.jpg 2006IainMcCorkindale.jpg Two of our leading young bowlers have been banned for two years, having failed one of the regular drug tests conducted on Team England athletes, reports Eric Hayton, editor of the British Go Tenpin magazine. Iain McCorkindale (left) and Steve Letchford (right) were tested at the PTBC in December hosted by the Airport Bowl.

    What Happened?

    As is standard practice, a UK Sport Doping Control Officer (DCO) requested the athletes provide a urine sample. The athletes personally choose the storage vessel, sampling kit and divide the sample into two parts (A & B).

    The athletes were also asked to declare all medication, supplements and substances taken during the previous 7 days. A declaration at this stage can help provide an explanation for later results of test.

    The DOC takes both samples to a WADA accredited laboratory. The A sample is tested. If the result is found to be positive for the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers then UK Sport are notified; they then notify the governing body – in this case the BTBA.

    After Positive Test

    The athlete is given the opportunity to explain and to appeal the findings - usually this means the 'B' is tested. It is usual (virtually 100%) that both samples will give the same positive readings.

    Both Iain and Steve's samples (A and B) tested positive for the chemical produced from the consumption of cocaine.

    The requirement is for the sport to hold a disciplinary hearing. This determines the outcome, in this case both were banned from bowling for two years - the standard WADA recommendation.


    All Team England players at all age levels must and do sign a code of conduct which they must adhere to. If in doubt athletes are told to ask first before taking anything. This code is for their protection as well as to keep our sport drug-free.

    Though a few sports, most notably football have not fully signed up to the WADA programme (see below), and hence players get variable suspensions, tenpin bowling (the BTBA and Team England) through its involvement with and recognition by UK Sport is committed to being in drug-free competition.

    Of course WADA is recognised by the Olympics and Commonwealth Games as well as other large multi-sport games in which bowling participates such as the World Games and South-East Asian Games.

    Steve and Iain will pay the price for the next two years, sitting out a sport they have been involved with and loved since they were but small juniors. Very sad, and very sad as well that they should be the first known tenpin bowlers to be banned for this reason.

    However their misfortune may help to prevent others from making the same mistake. The message that must go out to all our young athletes is – IT'S NOT WORTH IT.

    The Worldwide Story

    National Anti-Doping Policy
    National Anti-Doping Organisations are domestic organisations responsible for the planning, collection and management of anti-doping controls in their country. UK Sport is the country's National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO).

    As part of its overall sporting excellence remit, UK Sport is committed to promoting ethically fair and drug free sport, with the aim of producing sportsmen and women who are competing and winning fairly without using performance-enhancing substances. UK Sport receives Government funding to undertake a programme of action to combat the use of drugs in sport.

    This includes:
    • In-competition and out-of-competition testing of athletes
    • The development of a national policy framework
    • Provision of education and information services for athletes and sports governing bodies (including the Drug Information Database).

    International Anti-Doping Policy
    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999 to provide an international context for anti-doping. Its mission is to promote and coordinate, internationally, the fight against doping in sport.

    A major feature of WADA's work is the World Anti-Doping Code. The Code is an international set of rules and guidelines created to protect sport from doping.

    The Code will ensure that each country's drug-free sport programme at the national and international level are unified, fair and effective in regard to detection, deterrence and prevention of doping. The Code aims to simplify the anti-doping rules across all sports and countries.

    Role of WADA
    Its four key activity areas are the World Anti Doping Code, Education, Research and Capacity Building.

    Some of the core principles obtained in the Code include:
    • Strict liability - an athlete is held responsible if a banned substance is found in their body, no matter how it got there
    • A single list of banned substances which captures the substances that are prohibited in particular sports
    • Samples can only be analysed at laboratories accredited by WADA
    • Standardisation of sanctions
    • Athletes have fundamental right to a fair hearing.

    In some cases, athletes can apply for a therapeutic use exemption that gives them permission to compete with medically prescribed substances in their bodies.

    A key component of the WADA Code is the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods. The list outlines those substances, their markers and doping methods that are prohibited for all athletes. The list also outlines those substances that are prohibited by certain sports.

    The UK fully supports WADA and the World Anti-Doping Code.