Adherence to anti-doping rules critical for national sports teams
Published: Jan 07, 2017
The price being paid by one of the mightiest sports nations in world history is a compelling lesson.
The strong power base of the Russian Athletics Federation and the arrogance of that nation’s leader President Vladimir Putin, combined could not save Russia from being suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from its competitions because of state-sponsored doping.
Russia was a diluted force in the Rio Olympics last year, its athletics program, virtually non-existence and with meaningful representation in only a few other disciplines.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), armed with an incriminating report of state-sponsored assistance in cheating by use of drugs, brought down the hammer on the Russian Athletics Federation. Officials in that nation continue to lobby for re-instatement.
The freedom of participation in IAAF events, as was the case for ages before, has been taken away from Russia. This is as strong a case that could be made, I think, to emphasize the sustained battle that will be waged by WADA and its associated organizations around the world, going forward.
Here in The Bahamas, as our athletes zoom in on another year of sporting activities, which, based on our track record, will result in high-profile world achievements, we can be heartened by our reputation for advocating the “clean sports” perspective.
“Clean Sports” is the motto of the Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission (BADC). The police anti-doping body in the country has been officially active in a WADA-organized manner since 2010 and is well respected within the world fraternity that fights against cheating in sports.
There has been just a small percentage of doping violations in Bahamian sports history and none of them have been related to the state.
They have all been found to be isolated, the few in athletics and those in bodybuilding/fitness.
So, here we are, at a point whereby there is an all-out effort to stamp out organized state-sponsored doping.
WADA has its eyes on several nations other than Russia. One in particular, just barely escaped the wholesale ban that Russia suffered.
Accordingly, as the world gets ready for the new track and field season, adherence to the anti-doping code becomes even more critical than ever before. While The Bahamas has never been linked to state-sponsored doping, because of our high per-capita success in track and field, one corrupt individual has pointed a finger on this country.
World Anti-doping authorities ignored his charge, but it is nevertheless imperative that our athletes, in track and field and all of the other sports disciplines, place the protection of The Bahamas’ reputation as a priority.
WADA is serious!
War has been declared on the nations that are known to have a high percentage of violations and also individual athletes under suspicion.
I thus challenge all within the Bahamian sports fraternity to be on guard.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.