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Addressing Doping in Sport Through Education

As we get ready for the start of the 32nd (XXXII) Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan (Ju­ly 23 – Au­gust 8) one of the ma­jor ar­eas of fo­cus will be en­sur­ing ath­letes per­form with­in the In­ter­na­tion­al Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) rules and reg­u­la­tions

As we get ready for the start of the 32nd (XXXII) Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan (Ju­ly 23 – Au­gust 8) one of the ma­jor ar­eas of fo­cus will be en­sur­ing ath­letes per­form with­in the In­ter­na­tion­al Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) rules and reg­u­la­tions.

This fo­cus man­dates that all ath­letes, coach­es and med­ical ad­vi­sors, and ad­min­is­tra­tors be knowl­edge­able of the World An­ti-Dop­ing Agency [WA­DA] guide­lines on dop­ing- such as the use of stim­u­lants, di­uret­ics and an­a­bol­ic steroids.

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Ath­letes may use drugs for three pur­pos­es:

· As med­ica­tion for ill­ness

· Per­for­mance en­hance­ment which pro­vides an un­fair ad­van­tage over oth­er ath­letes

· Recre­ation­al pur­pos­es such as mar­i­jua­na

The WA­DA Ed­u­ca­tion Guide­lines to Pre­vent Dop­ing in Sport pro­vides a frame­work for the de­vel­op­ment of an­ti-dop­ing pro­grammes where all ath­letes from the ju­nior lev­el up­wards can be ap­prised about dop­ing, its risks and con­se­quences. The five fea­tures are:

a) Short-Term Goals – all goals must be SMART, that is, “Spe­cif­ic, Mea­sur­able, Achiev­able, Re­al­is­tic and Time­ly”.

Ac­cord­ing to WA­DA, at the end of every pro­gramme:

· 100% of all top ath­letes should have been in­formed of their rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties by the end of the ac­tiv­i­ty ses­sion

b) Long-Term Goals- ac­cord­ing to WA­DA, long-term goals pro­vide ben­e­fits for both ath­letes and their sup­port per­son­nel. These in­clude:

· All Ath­letes in the Reg­is­tered Test­ing Pool (RTP) shall be knowl­edge­able of the Pro­hib­it­ed List, Dop­ing Con­trols, health con­se­quences of dop­ing Use, Con­se­quences of An­ti-Dop­ing Rule Vi­o­la­tions and the rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of Ath­letes.

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· All ath­lete sup­port per­son­nel must al­so be aware of the re­quire­ments of ath­letes.

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c) Time­frame- the time time­frame for these ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes will de­pend on in­sti­tu­tion­al ca­pac­i­ty as well as the avail­abil­i­ty of fund­ing. Al­though fund­ing may be an is­sue in the cur­rent eco­nom­ic cli­mate, the lack of fund­ing for an­ti-dop­ing ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes is in­ex­cus­able.

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d) Tar­get Groups- ath­letes, ath­lete sup­port per­son­nel, coach­es, med­ical team and ad­min­is­tra­tors of sports. In cas­es of ju­nior ath­letes, it may be even wise to ap­prise par­ents, guardians and schools to recog­nise the im­por­tance of their role in pre­vent­ing any pos­si­ble dop­ing in­ci­dent.

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e) Key Mes­sages- the keys mes­sages should be­come etched in the minds of all stake­hold­ers. These are:

· Clean Sport;

· All Ath­letes need to be clean and stay clean

· Dop­ing is us­ing any sub­stance or method on the Pro­hib­it­ed List

· Dop­ing is against the spir­it of sport

The WA­DA guide­lines and the Pro­hib­it­ed List should be an in­te­gral part of the over­all de­vel­op­ment of ath­letes from the ju­nior lev­el on­wards. Such an ap­proach along with req­ui­site mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion min­i­mizes the pos­si­bil­i­ty of ath­letes run­ning afoul of the WA­DA rules and reg­u­la­tions.

Ad­di­tion­al­ly, it pro­vides a pre­ven­ta­tive mech­a­nism from in­cur­ring cost­ly bans in terms of un­want­ed neg­a­tive pub­lic­i­ty and loss of rev­enue from en­dorse­ments and oth­er fi­nan­cial arrange­ments.

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