Aron D'Souza.
Aron D'Souza, president of Enhanced Games, wants to hold a competition for drug-taking athletes. Image by PR HANDOUT IMAGE PHOTO
  • sport

Aussie athletes keen to compete at drug-taking Games

Steve Larkin January 30, 2024

An Olympic gold medallist is among a swag of Australians keen to compete at an event for drug-taking athletes.

Aron D’Souza, the Australian entrepreneur behind Enhanced Games, says the “household name” is among more than 900 global athletes interested in contesting the multi-sport event with no drug testing.

Two billionaires, including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, have been revealed as investors in Enhanced Games, to be held in the middle of next year.

Melbourne-born London-based businessman D’Souza says “lots of Australians” have logged interest in competing, but won’t yet disclose identities.

“I wish I could tell you. But there’s one Australian gold medallist who reached out … a very household name,” D’Souza told AAP.

“He was like, ‘I’d love to compete’.

“If you think about it, if you are a retired Olympian, what do you have … you’re certainly not rich.

“We now have the capital structure and I want to make our athletes rich.

“Because it is fundamentally unfair that the highest paid people in the sporting apparatus are people like John Coates in Australia, Sebastian Coe here (in Europe), Thomas Bach – the bureaucrats.”

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.
 Bureaucrats such as World Athletics boss Seb Coe shouldn’t earn more than athletes, D’Souza says. Image by EPA PHOTO 

D’Souza was “genuinely surprised” at the number of athletes wanting to compete.

“But also it’s so clear that this is the future,” he said.

“As you’ve seen with artificial intelligence in the last year, year and a half, what was once sci-fi is now reality.

“And human beings will accelerate and the greatest limitation of our acceleration is our weak biological form.

“The Enhanced Games will be the first stop in this journey of humanism where we can overcome our biology and become something greater.”

Thiel and a fellow billionaire – venture capitalist and biotech pioneer Christian Angermayer – along with multi-millionaire tech and crypto capitalist Balaji Srinivasan, have been revealed as private-sector funders of Enhanced Games.

“It’s really surprising that these people moved so quickly,” D’Souza said.

“We now have enough capital to produce the whole first event.”

Global television networks and streaming services are in negotiations with D’Souza, who is president of Enhanced Games.

Venues around the world are pitching to host the first event of five disciplines – track and field, swimming and diving, gymnastics, weightlifting, and combat sports.

Enhanced Games athletes won’t have to disclose performance-enhancing regimes.

“However we are setting a set of biomarkers – the heart, injection rates, heart size, various vitamin levels et cetera,” D’Souza said.

“And you have to be within those biomarker ranges and that’s all supported by a robust set of clinical and scientific literature.

“We’re going to do a full system health check-up on all of our athletes – blood works, MRIs, EKGs (electrocardiogram), organ-imaging in particular, to make sure they don’t have an enlarged heart.”

In addition to lucrative financial incentives, athletes would be given an equity stake in Enhanced Games – which D’Souza expects to host at an established venue, bypassing the need to build infrastructure, with hundreds of competitors.

“Breaking world records safely is the most important thing,” he said.

” … I’m certain the fastest man in the world, fastest woman in the world, will be at the Enhanced Games.”

Upto seven qualifying events will be staged in December around the world, including Australia, ahead of the inaugural Games mid next year.

“We’ve got a very clear timeline for delivering the event now,” D’Souza said.

“That’s the calculation that we are making: can we change a cultural taboo?

“And if we do, then we have the crown jewel of international sports and a way to inspire humanity to believe in the possibility of enhancements.”