Commonwealth Games anti-doping awareness top priority — officials
THERE is a lot of emphasis placed on anti-doping awareness ahead of the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3.
In light of recent adverse analytical findings involving a number of Jamaica's high-profile athletes, anti-doping measures was expectedly a topic of discussion as the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) announced the name of the 114 athletes to represent the country in 11 sporting disciplines.
"We've had an extensive education campaign as it relates to our junior and elite athletes. People are aware of what is on the list and there are copies sent to all the sporting associations and federations. Anyone who say they aren't aware of anti-doping procedures at this time would not be quite honest," said Natalie Neita-Headley, the minister with responsibility for sport, when the Jamaica Observer spoke with her at the end of yesterday's press conference at the Pegasus Hotel.
The minister, who was pleased with the wide variety of sports that Jamaica will compete in, offered words of encouragement to all athletes.
"Going forward we just hope that our athletes remain focused, be careful, but also that they understand that as Jamaicans we are proud of them just giving of their best."
Major Desmon Brown, the Chef de Mission to team in Glasgow, will have a management staff of five to ensure that athletes and officials are well taken care of throughout their stay.
He has over-arching responsibility for the athletes. In his estimation, athletes have to be constantly reminded of anti-doping procedures and of their rights when being tested.
"We have to keep talking to them and let them know. First of all, we expect that most Jamaicans who finish (reach the finals) are going to be tested. We also want them to know what their rights are... that someone can accompany them and that sort of thing," Brown explained.
Netball Jamaica president Marva Bernard said the importance of anti-doping education has been at the forefront of the association's campaign to ensure that the Sunshine Girls stay clear of any adverse findings.
"We have had seminars with JADCo (Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission). Our doctor is already in charge of everything that they (players) ingest. They are aware of their responsibilities so even for an ointment, they check before they use it. They are very aware
and very conscious, so we don't expect a problem," insisted the local netball boss.