Dope Testing in Irish Bouldering Comp hits Headlines

by Jack Geldard – Editor – UKC “Sports chiefs are furiousabout an e-mail warning bouldering contestants that urine checks willtake place at two Irish events? states John Mooney in the SundayTimes newspaper. Stephen McMullan of the Irishclimbing website, posted a forum message advising climbers that:?there will be representativesfrom the Irish Sports Council conducting anti-doping tests at theMidleton [sic] and DCU rounds of the IBL [Irish Bouldering League]… …In all likelihoodthere will be urine testing, more probable for folks getting placed1,2,3 but also there is the possibility of random testing…? McMullan´s messageconveys shock at the level of scrutiny now being applied topreviously happy-go-lucky bouldering competitions: ?I´m still reeling atthis news. I suppose we just hoped this day would never come.? In what seems to bean innocent internet posting, pitched at warning his friendsabout drugtesting at their local bouldering competitions, McMullanhas caused quite a stir. Accordingto Mooney of The Times, ?The Irish Sports Council (ISC)is to ask the Mountaineering Council of Ireland (MCI) to investigatean e-mail which tipped-off competitive rock climbers about plannedanti-doping tests.? Rob Adie of the BMC commented: “Drug testing at national competitions in the UK hasn´t happened in the past.” However with climbing being pushed towards the Olympics in 2020 it is possible thatstringent drug-testing will become more common in climbingcompetitions throughout the UK. It´sworth noting that recreational drugs show up in these drugs tests, as Chris Sharma found out when he was stripped of his World title back in 2001. Traces of marijuana were found in his urine sample and hewas removed from the rankings, handing over the trophy and prizemoney to Spaniard DaniAndrada who placedsecond. At odds with these tests is the fact that hard climbing in the UK hastraditionally had a rebellious edge, with many of the top-levelprotagonists often dabbling in recreational drug use: Pushing the limits of body on routes during the day, and experimenting with the limits of mind during the evenings. Luckilyno-one is recommending drug-testing out on the crag, which is wherethese top performers may have to concentrate their energies, if theycan no longer compete in local bouldering competitions. PersonallyI am happy to undertake a drug-test for climbing, and invite anyofficial from the International Federation of Sport Climbing to joinme on the Enchanted Broccoli Garden belay at Gogarth, where I will be happy to offer a urine sample.