Over the last few years, sport has seen much more stringent action on the cunning world of doping, with several high profile cases making sports federations confused on how they did not discover this earlier. The Lance Armstrong debacle, the Ben Johnson case and recently, Russia being suspended all together from the Rio Olympics are just some of the stories that have shocked the sporting world. After the Australian Open at the beginning of the year, Maria Sharapova made a public announcement, notifying the world of her failed drugs test. Many people expected that to be the end of her career, but with her getting a 15 month ban, is it the right decision?

Sport needs one rule for all

Across every sport, there is the possibility of using performance enhancing drugs. Furthermore, these drugs are usually very similar in the things they do for the athlete’s body. Yet, with the similar types of dugs in different sports, there seems to be a huge discrepancy in the punishments given by the governing bodies. Some athletes are given a light punishment, whereas, others are given life bans. Surely, whatever the level of interaction with the drugs the athlete has, they should be punished the same. If this is made a reality, it may finally put off athletes from ever considering this possibility. And this punishment should be as severe as possible; life ban.

Only then will we achieve purely clean sport, where athletes’ performance is down to their hard work and dedication.

Tennis could have taken a stand

For years, the top Tennis stars across both the men’s and women’s tour have called for better drug testing in their sport. Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Serena Williams have been strong and forthright in their opinion to have more drug testing.

This view can be shared across all sports, to be more transparent with the athletes as well as the fans. Cycling made an example of Lance Armstrong after years of hiding his doping procedure. Tennis had the opportunity to do the same thing with the case of Sharapova. By giving a severe punishment to one of the most recognisable stars on the planet, tennis could have gained a lot of respect for their stand.

However, people may now feel that there may always be a way to get away with using drugs, which is what tennis really does not want.

Don’t be fooled by feeling of victimisation

Ever since the news of her ban being reduced to 15 months, Maria has spoken to various platforms and expressed how she feels tennis has been against her. When her major sponsors such as Head stood by her, the International Tennis Federation tried to ban the Russian for 4 years. That is at least according to Maria herself. If this is the case, we should actually question why that length of ban was never sanctioned. The feeling of victimisation that Sharapova is trying to portray is something all athletes would do in her position.

When the sport you love is taken away from you, of course you will be upset and feel some magnitude of injustice. However, she does deserve a punishment to remind her of the naivety she showed and is lucky to not get a much harsher punishment.

So, as Maria counts down the months to her comeback, we should really question whether she deserves a second chance at all.