[WATCH] Sports junior minister wants blood tests for athletes to stop cheating

Parliamentary Secretary Clifton Grima said that the National Anti-Doping Organisation of Malta needed to increase its manpower for monitoring purposes

Sports parliamentary secretary Clifton Grima
Sports parliamentary secretary Clifton Grima

It's time that Maltese sport associations start asking for blood samples from athletes rather than just a urine sample, Clifton Grima said.

Following the reports that illegal steroids were being manufactured in Malta and sold for large profits, the Sport parliamentary secretary said that blood tests would ensure that athletes would be in possession of a biological passport. Blood tests are more comprehensive, providing a clearer picture of an athlete's habits. 

"The Maltese government should also give more tools to the National Anti-Doping Organisation of Malta (NADO) and I'm not talking about increasing its budget — the NADO should increase its human resources to improve its monitoring," Grima said.

Speaking on TVM's Xtra Sajf, Grima said that the fact that Maltese athletes were resorting to illegal substances was a very worrying fact.

"There are two types of substances, those made in factories and those made in garages. Sometimes athletes don't know what they're putting in their body, and some of these substances contain growth hormones that literally change the body," he said.

He added that education was an important factor in ensuring that people at a young age understand both the medical and legal repercussions of using these substances. 

"Some sports associations are making it mandatory to teach their children about these substances but it's not doing enough to show what the medical consequences are. Children need to also understand that there's a criminal aspect to it," he said.

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