The 2009 NABBA Belgium Nationals Bodybuilding Championships were cancelled after three anti-doping official arrived unannounced to conduct steroid testing. Thesanctioned bodybuilding championship was to be held at Arsenaal Theater in Vlissingen, Netherlands on Sunday, May 17, 2009. The 20 bodybuilding competitors were reported to have “fled” the auditorium when the steroid testers arrived (“ ,” May 18).
“I have never seen anything like it and hope never to see anything like it again,” said anti-doping official Hans Cooman… “In the bodybuilding world doping control is necessary because we know that there is a lot of doping going on. The results prove this again and again.”
Cooman said he had no choice but to conclude that all the competitors were using steroids based on their abrupt departure from the venue.
Sometimes sports federations take the initiative and invite us to come by, like the cycling union does. But we have never had an invitation like this from bodybuilders.
Hans Cooman also accused theof the 2009 NABBA Belgian Bodybuilding Championships of moving the competition across the border into The Netherlands in an attempt to avoid Belgian doping officials. Cooman called this attempt futile as Belgian anti-doping are willing to travel to nearby countries to bust athletes and/or solicit the assistance of anti-doping agencies in other countries to catch Belgian bodybuilders (“ ,” May 18).
Bodybuilding has a long history of doping, and Cooman said this latest flap “didn’t do its reputation any good.”
Last year, 22 of 29 tests were positive, either for steroids or for refusing testing, a failure rate of a staggering 75 percent.
“This was the first time though we turned up in the Netherlands,” Cooman said.
Anabolic steroid use in competitive bodybuilding has largely escaped the scrutiny by law enforcement and anti-doping officials. However, recent steroid arrests by officials in the United States, large scale, and now surprise unannounced steroid testing in Belgium suggests increased interest in bodybuilding.