Naypong/iStock/Thinkstock(COLOGNE, Germany) – The world’s largest gaming association for e-sports, ESL, announced it will explore the beginning phases of a drug testing program for all participating players.
“We’ve known for some time that performance enhancing drugs could be a challenge that we’d eventually need to face,” James Lampkin, vice president of pro gaming for the league.
With the sports’ popularity and pool prize winnings exploding, some gamers have looked to performance enhancing drugs to give themselves “that extra edge.”
ESL said it has partnered with the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in Germany and will reach out to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to assist in carrying out their rules once a comprehensive system is in place.
Lampkin said the key moment for the ESL was when Kory “Semphis” Friesen, who played Counter Strike, with $250,000 in prizes on the line, claimed in an interview that he and his team had taken Adderall when they played at an event in Poland.
In small doses, the drug, used for ADHD, has been found to increase stamina and alertness giving gamers who use it an advantage, which is why the drug is banned by the ESL.
“While it is impossible to go back and test the players, this really was the catalyst to demand immediate action for the integrity of our sport,” Lampkin said.
Part of the reason for engaging the anti-doping agencies, Lampkin said, is to be able to stay ahead of the game.
“Psychostimulants like Adderall and beta-blockers look to be the most popular right now, but in the same way athletics commissions are constantly battling against the newest PEDs available, we expect our challenge to be similar,” Lampkin said.
The ESL said it will immediately begin skin testing for performance enhancing drugs at ESL One, which takes place in Germany next month.
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