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Alcohol and Air Sports Contests

Alcohol is a common social lubricant, legal in most countries. But it is also a powerful substance that can be subject to misuse or abuse. In large quantities, alcohol (called “ethanol” in scientific language) will seriously disturb sleep and result in fatigue during the following day. Alcoholic drinks contain various other substances which when metabolised produce toxic effects on the human body.

High consumption also causes dehydration, and the inevitable 'hangover' will adversely affect performance in air sports. Many competitors choose to abstain from alcohol totally during contests, and that is a wise and legitimate choice. However, practical advice is needed as to what may be consumed while still complying with the WADA limit of 0.10g/l and remaining fit for air sport competition.

Units of alcohol are an inexact guide, because the definition varies between countries. However, in many countries there is a legal limit of 0.50g/l for driving motor vehicles. Social drinkers will have come to recognise what that level means for them. However, alcohol (ethanol) is prohibited In-Competition only, in air sports. Detection will be conducted by analysis of breath and/or blood. The doping violation threshold (haematological values) is 0.10 g/L. Sound practical advice is to stay strictly within this limit during the evening prior to any competitive air sport event. This will provide an assurance that the WADA limit will not be breached if you are tested on the following morning.

This advice has been written for competitors but applies equally to all those involved in the support and organisation of contests.