Doping In Tennis Not A Problem

World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman has surprised all by remarking that tennis does not has a problem with performance enhancing drugs. In recent times, Viktor Troicki and Marin Cilic have received suspensions for testing positive and the anti-doping program of tennis has been criticized by several top tennis stars.

Big names like Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic have urged tennis’s governing body to do more testing. Howman applauded the demand for more stringent anti-doping measures but said the sport doesn’t have a major problem. Howman remarked he doesn’t think tennis has a problem, per se and he thinks tennis has a high profile issue in that the athletes at the helm are saying ‘we want more’ and he thinks that’s a good thing.

The WADA director general remarked he thinks if you have athletes praising the fight against doping and asking to be tested more, then the response from the national federation will be: ‘We will do it,’ and added if they don’t, they’ll be risking the wrath of their top players which he doesn’t think any international federation would want. Howman said having athletes speak out is the best possible progress we could make from our perspective and having athletes support what we do is even better and when we recall some of those tennis players, Andy Murray in particular, three or four years ago, he was very critical of anti-doping in general and now, he’s one of the ones calling for more, which shows a very good shift.

Howman, while referring to anti-doping measures in Jamaica, said he has gone through the recommendations that we’ve made, to make sure that their program returns to the robust program it was several years ago. He added that Jamaica’s Minister with responsibility for Sport, Natalie Neita Headley, has agreed entirely with the recommendations and some of those are strong and we have asked her to review the legislation in the country, we’ve asked her to review the governance of the body responsible for overseeing it and several other operational matters. He went to add that Neita came to him and said we are committing eight million Jamaican dollars to the program immediately and are hiring the people you suggested. Howman also added that he communicated to her that WADA will be monitoring and will get the country to work with one of the strong anti-doping agencies, so you get mentored properly and we’ll be reporting back to the board on that progress next year.

In a statement released in Kingston, the country’s minister with responsibility for sport recently said the Commissioners of Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission have taken a decision, in the national interest and in order to facilitate the re-structuring of JADCO, to tender their resignations which will take effect on December 31, 2013. JADCO has been under fire since former senior JADCO official Renee Anne Shirley said the authority had carried out just one out-of-competition test from February 2012 to the start of the London Olympics in July.

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