Education and awareness key to keeping sport doping free


Education and awareness key to keeping sport doping free

Saturday, February 01, 2020

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We note with interest the recent annual symposium hosted by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) at Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.

A report appearing in this newspaper said 90 people who provide support for athletes at various levels attended the educational symposium which carried the theme 'Protecting clean sport, moving forward together'.

Those in attendance are said to have included members of sporting associations and federations, professional groups, school principals, coaches, and sport administrators.

There were presentations on the functions and responsibilities of JADCO and the doping control process. There was, it seems, considerable focus on the role of support personnel in helping athletes to avoid ingesting banned/prohibited substances.

This newspaper believes such initiatives deserve unconditional applause.

We have said previously that while drug testing rules require athletes to take responsibility for whatever enters their bodies, the very young, including minors (under 18 years old) and those who simply do not pay enough attention could fall afoul of doping rules, without proper guidance from those closest to them.

Further, it is a matter of record, that on occasions, support personnel have themselves fallen down because of an absence of rigour, inclusive of inadequate attention to detail and failure to apply proper procedure.

In that respect, Chairman of JADCO Mr Alexander Williams makes the point that “Some of the most important stakeholders in the business of sport include athlete support personnel such as parents, teachers, and coaches.”

Said he: “Coaches, you are very influential and we cannot truly reach the athletes without your support. Teachers, as you mould young minds you can encourage them to play fair and make ethical decisions. Parents, you also have a crucial role to play and that is why we continue to host workshops with parent-teacher associations within the secondary schools to provide you with vital information on anti-doping to share with your children.”

Indeed, Minister of Sport Ms Olivia Grange extends responsibility even further. Says she: “Protecting clean sport is not JADCO's job, it is the prerogative of everyone who is involved in sport, even those who are only interested in the entertainment value that sports creates…”

And it is very important for all — athletes as well as support personnel — to recognise that they must never become complacent but should stay in touch with developments.

There is always something new to learn as Mr Howard Bell of the Jamaica Football Federation and Ms Beverly Baugh of the Badminton Association made clear.

Education and awareness must be the way to go not just for JADCO but, all sporting associations.

All should recognise that even with a multiplicity of targeted and more general educational/awareness programmes for athletes, their support staff, relatives, et al, there is always the possibility that something will go wrong; that someone will ingest a prohibited or banned substance for whatever reason.

That's life.

But if there is a determined, co-ordinated effort to prevent such incidents, they will be kept to a minimum.

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