Drugs In Sport: Bowring tries to lift the stigma

Whether it is powerlifting or weightlifting, the general view is that both have a drugs problem.

DEAN BOWRING is a man with a seemingly impossible mission. The 24-year-old power- lifter from Hampshire, a member of the British squad and ranked second in the country in his class, wants to convince people his sport has cleaned up its act. A staunch anti-drugs campaigner, he feels aggrieved that clean participants in lifting are tarnished by association with those who are not.

"I make no money at all from powerlifting. I do it because I love doing it," he said. "In the British squad, I'd say 99 per cent of lifters are clean." He added: "But when that squad goes away to lift internationally, most of the other countries take drugs and they speak openly about it." Bowring's own second placing in last year's World Junior (Under-24) Championships is testament to that - he originally finished fourth but was promoted two places after failed drugs tests.

Evidence there is still a problem at home is not hard to come by. There were 14 Sports Council tests with "irregularities" (positives or refusals) in powerlifting and weightlifting combined last year, including five positive tests for anabolic steroids. The Independent's survey shows 20 per cent of respondents have used steroids and 40 per cent think steroids are used. And even Bowring himself admits that the culture of the gym is drowning in drugs.

"There are gyms around where everyone takes drugs and that's why I don't go there. And in these gyms, there are bigger dealers than your average Joe who gets a bit of gear and sells it on. You've got guys who have a lot of gear and they push it. It's always the unspoken thing, but it's everywhere."

Powerlifting is competitive lifting for body builders and has three disciplines. Weightlifting is an Olympic sport with two disciplines. Both come under the jurisdiction of the British Amateur Weightlifting Association. Power- lifting's main image problem, said Bowring, is due to a split in his sport in 1989. According to him, lifters banned from BAWLA for drug use set up their own organisation, now called the British Powerlifting Congress, and the general public's perception of his sport is informed by that organisation (the BPC), which has no drug testing.

Brian Batcheldor, an ex-BAWLA lifter and now president of the BPC, said the split was nothing to do with drugs. He maintains it was because he and others lifted for a non-BAWLA association in South Africa, for which he was banned for life.

Whoever's version is most accurate, both agree drugs have been a problem in lifting. Batcheldor, for his part, admitted there is little testing in the BPC, but said he planned to introduce it as soon as money is available. "We are dealing with the matter in a different way from BAWLA," he said. "They have got an existing drug problem or else they wouldn't be catching people." He added: "Our testing will be for illegal substances such as amphetamines and stimulants. We're more concerned with social and health problems."

Batcheldor said he used steroids himself for 15 years, supplied by sympathetic doctors or the black market, and he had no ill effects, having liver screens done to ensure there were no problems. Of what he calls "the myth of steroids", he said: "It's a lie. People are not dying from these things." He added: "These medications help with excessive training work loads and the demands that are placed on them by the general public to perform.

"Everyone wants to see the biggest, the fastest and the strongest. And sporting ideals and competing for the sense of fair play all died when millions of pounds got tied up in sport." People like Dean Bowring, who makes nothing for his efforts, might beg to differ.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Day In a Page

Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference