Letter: Drug-free sports

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The Independent Culture
Letter:

Drug-free sports

Sir: I am forced to wonder if Philip Hensher ("Only the French could make a farce of the Tour de France", 31 July) really realises what he is saying?

If doping should be accepted in cycling, presumably it should be acceptable in all other sports; where does he draw the line?

I believed that the essence of competitive sport was the "unaided" relative skill of individuals or teams. After all, are we not constantly exhorted to recognise the contribution to health and character-building which sport is supposed to bring to individuals and the nation (and never to question the enormous vested interests of so many of the exhorters, be they manufacturers, media promoters, or physical educators)?

But Hensher does not have the courage of his convictions, or would he not have ended by calling for abandonment of all restrictions on extraneous aids to peak performance in cycling?

And if cycling, why not all other sports? Look here, he is effectively saying, sport is great entertainment and we shouldn't care how the entertainment is achieved.

By all means, but let us not be further subjected to the financial demands of the sports industry for funding, distortion of the school timetable, and sanctimonious exhortation by all those with vested interests.

And so, what next in the re-evaluation of values? Freedom to add sand to sugar, chalk to flour? Ever heard of honesty?

BRIAN ALLT

Sudbury, Suffolk

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