Argentina to use Viagra to overcome altitude

Lionel Messi - has to sit out the game in Bolivia where his countrymen will reportedly be boosted by Viagra. Photo / Photosport
Lionel Messi - has to sit out the game in Bolivia where his countrymen will reportedly be boosted by Viagra. Photo / Photosport

Argentina's footballers will play on a mix of drugs including Viagra for their World Cup qualifier at altitude against Bolivia.

The football site FourFourTwo reported that the Argentinians, who will be without the banned Lionel Messi, will use a cocktail of Viagra, caffeine and paracetamol before and during the game in La Paz, which is 3640m above sea level.

Viagara's main purpose is famous but it apparently improves athletic endeavour at high altitudes, and the World Anti-Doping Agency rates it as legal.

Leading into today's game, Argentina's coach Edgardo Bauza said: "The problem of the altitude comes in the last 20 minutes. We will see how we come through the game physically.

"When we get to the altitude, we give paracetamol to players to avoid headaches.'

Messi, banned for four games after abusing a match official, was sick on the field during a 2013 game in La Paz - where oxygen is in short supply - while two team mates required oxygen masks.

Viagra contains sildenafil, used to treat erectile dysfunction. Some athletes believe it enriches their muscles by opening the vessels. In 2012, Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall lifted the lid on the drug's use in sport saying he had heard "crazy stories of guys using Viagra, seriously."

And there is scientific backup. Mindthesciencegap reported that a team from Stanford University studied the effects of sildenafil on trained male cyclists and triathletes at sea level and simulated high altitude. The authors concluded that it "may improve athletic performance for certain people at high altitude, but not at sea level."

- NZ Herald

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