Doping code

And while researching yesterday’s blog, I ran across this article on the Italian Neapolitean club site. Neapolitean Club is a good news site, focussing on Italian bridge and fortunately in English, as, even though my great-grandmother was Italian, I don’t speak a word of Italian. Anyway, the article.

The quick summary: Traces of Hydrochlorothiazide were found in an urine sample from the Italian player Robert Rivera taken during the Italian mixed teams championship. Mr. Rivera was suspended for 1 month.

I’ve aways considered the doping code for the game of bridge completely silly. It has been never been proven that any of the banned substances actually improve your bridge play. Some of the substances may help you to calm down, but then again, there are lots alternatives there that are allowed. The family of thiazide is not one of them. Wikipedia writes that Thiazide is a class of diuretics often used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and edema (such as that caused by heart, liver, or kidney disease). The thiazides and thiazide-like diuretics reduce the risk of death, stroke, heart attack and heart failure due to hypertension. However, thiazide can also be used (or abused, if you like) as a masking agent to cover up the use of muscle enhancing substances. If a bridge player wants to use those, well, be my guest, it won’t improve bridge play.

What is even more surprising, the article also states that: [Mr.Rivera] had the appropriate documents showing that he used this for medical reasons, but failed to hand them in as he did not realize that he had to do so.

What? The person can show that his doctor had prescribed this but there was a simple administrative mistake? Suspend him for that? Are the Italians suddenly holier than the pope? Mr. Rivera has the dubious honor to be the first player to be suspended because of the doping code, I feel sorry for him.

What problem have we just solved? None.

Note: I have never met and do not know Mr. Rivera and to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never even played against him in any tournament.

Henk Uijterwaal 2019