Letters to the editor

Feb 02 2013, 02:35 IST
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SummaryThis refers to the editorial “Armstrong plunge”. Seven Tour de France titles.

It isn’t just drugs

This refers to the editorial “Armstrong plunge” (FE, January 19). Seven Tour de France titles. The man—Lance Armstrong—literally had a free ride for more than a decade, starting 1999. Think of Jan Ullrich, who was eternally second to Armstrong. Well, maybe, he gets the titles now that Armstrong is stripped of those—but who will compensate him for the time lag, and product endorsements lost? Drugs are not new to sport. Who hasn’t heard of the 1988 Seoul Olympics saga involving Ben Johnson? And, athletes were known to be on steroids even before that. The USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) and WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) have only been sluggish on countering drugs in sports. Is it okay if each and every athlete is made to pass through extensive and tiresome drug tests every he goes playing? More than his practice schedule, it is the screening schedule that tires him, making sport less of fun it is supposed to be and more of a sort of school examination! So, to make screening as less as possible, one may perhaps start allowing athletes to use drugs. After all, one doesn’t know whether a child taking milk fortified with Boost (a supplement brand for kids and young alike) will perform better at school games than a child drinking plain milk. Soft drinks are also stimulants, in a way. What is Red Bull, after all? But there is no way to regulate them. Tomorrow, someone might find a new drug that can’t be detected.

But things go beyond drugs in sports. Talk of other aspects like infrastructure and access to them—then the ‘level-playing field’ that Armstrong mentioned tilts in favour of countries like the US and those in Europe. An Asian athlete, with inferior infrastructure and costly access, competes with his American rival only on a disadvantage. There is actually no level-playing field in this unequal world.

Raghu Seshadri

Chennai

Is telegram service needed?

Telegram service has lost its relevance over the last two decades due to technological advantages like the internet, SMS, etc. The average number of 21,783 telegrams booked daily in the year 2006-07 has now further decreased to just 8,513 daily in the year 2010-11. A study should be conducted on the areas that are still using telegram services, so that proper arrangement of internet and SMS service is done for such areas. We might as well do away with telegram service.

Subhash Chandra

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