WADA to implement new changes to code
THE World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has proposed new changes to its regulations and standards which will be implemented at the end of this year, some of which were highlighted at a forum hosted by the University of the West Indies, Mona, on Thursday.
Tony Cunningham, manager of Education Programme at WADA, outlined that the anti-doping agency will be making a total of 2,269 changes to its code, which is aimed at protecting the integrity of sports.
Some of the changes will see the code being clearer and shorter, having a better reach to athlete support personnel, smart testing, an increased importance of investigation and use of intelligence, sanctions, as well as clearer and fairer proportionality and human rights.
The code will also see those found in breach as a deliberate cheat, now facing the maximum four-year ban period, up from two years, as well as greater flexibility.
An athlete will now be found in violation of the anti-doping violation rule if he or she misses three tests in eight months, down from 12 months.
Minister with responsibility for sports, Natalie Neita-Headley, told the Jamaica Observer that the forum was well put together and she is hoping to see more in the near future, as they will have to ensure that athletes are educated about the changes.
"This seminar was fantastic, it is one of many I hope to come, and we will continue to collaborate with UWI in the interest of preserving the integrity in sports. Most of what they are doing here we are to partner on, to ensure that we are working together for the betterment of sports development in Jamaica," she said.
The minister went on to say that they will ensure that core personnel of athletes, including parents, coaches, administrators, managers, heads of associations and the support system of athletes are also educated as it relates to the new code and what will be required of the athletes.
President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Mike Fennell, believes the changes are an improvement on the already existing code.
"They have streamlined certain things that show the depth of the research that goes into this, because it is not easy to understand.
"The important thing for us to grasp in Jamaica is that the importance of WADA is to ensure that there is harmonisation right across the world, so that athletes who are treated in our country, it is the same way they are treated in a country far away because they have a common platform to deal with the anti-doping in sports," he explained.
The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), with the objective of educating athletes, support personnel, media and the general public about drug use in sports, has commenced a process of training and development for junior athletes.
The forum was a part of the university's Research Days 2014, which lasted over three days, and was also used to present information on the e-Education pilot programme.
The e-Education pilot is an initiative that provides anti-doping and drug-related information and training for sport professionals at various levels through a virtual learning hub. The University of the West Indies is seeking to lead the programme in Jamaica, as it has already been implemented in other regions such as Latin America and the Caribbean.
If selected by WADA for the programme, UWI will seek consensus from JADCO to set up the online mechanism. The theme was 'New Era Testing and Anti-doping e-Education in the Caribbean', that is in keeping with the new developments.