Tips for masters to avoid sport integrity pitfalls
Continuing to play sport as we age is regarded as an ideal facilitator of healthy ageing through enhanced physical, mental, and social wellbeing.
And as the international sporting arena continually strives to create options for all, there are more and more competitive opportunities for sport loving Australians over the age of 35 within the masters’ cohort.
From archery to wrestling, and every letter of the alphabet in between, almost every sport offers masters-age competitions at major events such as the Australian, Pan-Pacific and World Masters Games, and within many local sporting communities.
While acknowledging these events are often a mix of social and elite competitors, Sport Integrity Australia’s Director of Education Alexis Cooper, says the agency is committed to safeguarding sport across all ages and stages of their careers.
“The masters category represents a unique population within the sport integrity framework, from both an athlete perspective and as role models to the next generation of sports people,” Cooper says.
“While some might think that competition as we age would be more free of controversy, athletes in this category can still experience the pitfalls of sport integrity matters with the same harsh penalties that are afforded to their younger counterparts.
“There have certainly been cases where Masters athletes have been stripped of records and medals, and sanctioned due to failed drug tests.”
Earlier this year a 52-year-old masters’ cyclist from California received a four-year ban for the possession, use and attempted use of 10 different substances, including steroids and growth hormone.
Likewise, in 2020, the 48-year-old master's world record holder for the 10,000m tested positive to steroids and received a four-year ban.
To avoid such heartbreak, Cooper recommends:
- Educating yourself on the full range of sport integrity matters
- Checking your supplements via the Sport Integrity Australia app
- Ensuring your medication is not banned in sport on Global DRO, and
- Understanding the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) requirements
As Cooper suggests, if you’re a master with young sportsters of your own, you’re also in a great position to educate our next generation.
You can do this via the Play by the Rules website and by supporting your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and neighbours to simply have fun on the sporting field. The ‘Let Kids be Kids’ campaign is a great resource for parents and clubs.
Interested in playing masters sport at a more competitive level?
There are three key Masters Games in 2022 for Aussie masters to get excited about:
- Australian Masters Games: 23-30 April, Perth
- World Masters Games: May 2022, Kansai, Japan
- Pan Pacific Masters Games: 4-13 November 2022, Gold Coast
Interesting facts about Masters Games:
- The first World Masters Games was held in Toronto, Canada in 1985 with 8,305 athletes from 61 countries. The most recent World Masters Games (9th) was held in Auckland, New Zealand, with 28,571 athletes from around 100 countries.
- The World Masters has been held in Brisbane 1994, Melbourne 2002 and Sydney 2009.
- The first Australian Masters Games was held in Tasmania in 1987 and has travelled around Australia every two years.
- The Pan Pacific Masters Games is another biennial masters event which attracted 32,400 tourists to the Gold Coast in 2018 injecting $19 million into the Queensland economy.
- The minimum age for many sports is now 30.
- You don’t have to be a superstar to compete! With no qualifying standards or times, the only entry requirement is a minimum age for each sport.