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  1. C Tamburrini
  1. Correspondence to:
 C Tamburrini

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Many elite athletes try to imitate the effects of high altitude training by using hypoxic air machines. These training devices are thought to boost the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood and the production of red blood cells which are believed to yield an important competitive advantage in endurance sports. Hypoxic air machines do not contravene current antidoping regulations. However, many sports practitioners and some officials have expressed a feeling of uneasiness towards this new training technique, comparing it with traditional doping. And, indeed, the introduction of hypoxic air machines paves the way for allowing doping in a near future.

All sports related arguments that have been advanced in defence of these machines also support traditional doping. For instance, some objectors argue that hypoxic air machines render “a chemical advantage” and should therefore be forbidden. A standard defence against this criticism is that “even if it becomes more effective, training is still necessary for users of hypoxic air machines”. The same answer, however, could be given by supporters of lifting the prohibition on doping. In a sense, every training technique (including doping) yields a chemical process in the body.

Consider now fairness in competition …

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