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A recent worldwide investigation revealed that Russia, India, China, and
the United States have the highest number of doping cases involving minors.
Europe Science & Health

, and A recent worldwide investigation revealed that Russia, India, China, and the United States have the highest number of doping cases involving minors.

On Wednesday, the World Anti-Doping Agency reported that a decade-long study revealed that the majority of positive doping tests among children and young adolescents were associated with Russia, India, and China. These cases were primarily found in weightlifting, athletics, and cycling.

Since 2012, over 1,500 positive tests involving more than 1,400 minors have revealed that diuretics, stimulants, and anabolic steroids were the most frequently detected substances.

According to the Operation Refuge study, the minimum age of an athlete tested was 8 years old, while the youngest individual involved in a doping case was 12 years old, as reported by WADA.

In a statement, Ryan Pini, chair of WADA’s athlete council, expressed his sympathy for child athletes who face significant emotional distress and separation after testing positive for doping and receiving a sanction. This was reported in detail by Operation Refuge.

The report mentioned a statement from a young girl who remembered feeling immense pressure from male coaches to maintain a low weight. The pressure included an unrealistic demand to delay the effects of puberty, as it was believed that it would hinder their performance in competitions.

The World Anti-Doping Agency reported that its team responsible for gathering information and conducting investigations studied the results of drug testing on individuals under the age of 18 from the year 2012. They also received 58 reports since 2018 through a private hotline, which revealed that minors were involved in using banned substances.

The organization stated that after examining the disclosures, it was determined that the majority came from Russia and India. Additionally, the most commonly reported sports worldwide were aquatics and athletics.

According to the report, the most frequently detected doping substances in cases resulting in sanctions were furosemide in Russia, stanozolol in India, and clenbuterol in China.

According to WADA, stanozolol was the most frequently detected substance in weightlifting cases, while EPO was prevalent in track and field. In cycling, meldonium was the substance most often used for its endurance-enhancing effects. Meldonium, a heart medication, gained attention for its role in the doping scandal involving Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova.

According to WADA, approximately 80% of positive tests resulted in penalties, while the remaining were for substances permitted for therapeutic purposes. This includes a stimulant used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

Several indications indicated a pattern of doping, such as several underage individuals testing positive for identical substances in samples collected on the same day.

In 2012, WADA brought attention to a situation where four boxers in Romania were found to have traces of furosemide in their system. In 2021, three track and field athletes in China tested positive for stanozolol. In 2022, two skaters from Belarus tested positive for furosemide. Last year, two weightlifters from Kazakhstan also tested positive for ostarine.

“The focus of Operation Refuge brings attention to a challenging yet crucial matter,” stated Günter Younger, the director of intelligence and investigations at WADA. “Our efforts are aimed at preventing the recurrence of the situations shared by the individuals involved in this operation.”