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Martina Hingis and doping

By William Skidelsky  

The news that Martina Hingis tested positive for cocaine at this year’s Wimbledon, and would therefore have faced a two-year ban from tennis had she not taken matters into her own hands by retiring, highlights one of the glaring absurdities of sport’s anti-doping regulations. If Hingis did indeed take cocaine—and it is a charge she denies—then it is patently obvious that she didn’t do so for performance-enhancing reasons. Cocaine—along with cannabis, speed, LSD, ecstasy and all other recreational drugs—would only retard an athelete’s performance. Surely, the sole purpose of drugs testing should be to determine whether athletes have taken substances…

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