No Excuse Policy For Athletes Caught Doping, Says WADA President

Sir Craig Reedie, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has issued a warning to Glasgow 2014 competitors to beware of the dangers of supplements. Reedie said testers adopt a ‘no excuses’ policy and expressed frustration with athletes who continue to put their trust in unregulated nutritional shakes and mixes.

The former British Olympic Association chairman said he can understand why athletes take these things, because they will do anything to get an edge and improve their performance but it is extremely dangerous. Reedie added he means there is a clearly an issue at the moment with supplements and the supplements business the world over is almost entirely unregulated. The WADA President added it is important to get control of what people put in these things, because athletes will keep taking supplements. He went on to add that very experienced athletes take them – and, in many ways, they shouldn’t and if they must take them, they have to make sure that what they are taking is absolutely clear.

Reedie brought forward the example of a German athlete in Sochi, someone who had been to two Olympic Games, should know exactly what she was doing but one of her friends said: “Oh, you should take this supplement” and so she used it. Reedie added it is that kind of occasional weakness that can cause a real problem and if they are determined to take supplements, they should know that they are clean. The WADA chief added the new world-wide code coming into place next year will deal rather more accurately with what you would describe as minor offences but basically the principle of strict liability still applies.

Nicola Newman, UKAD’s director of communications and education, said our two aims are never to get a positive test at a major event from a British athlete and to stop a serious doper from competing. Nicola added that is our goal, although we can’t guarantee it. The UKAD’s director of communications and education added “No excuses” is another phrase for us and we don’t want anybody to feel they lacked the knowledge they needed and went on to add that we are working really hard with federations and sports to make sure they all understand the risks. Nicola also remarked that the ongoing message that we’re giving to these athletes is predominantly around not making a mistake or getting a positive test because they didn’t understand. Newman added we worked with some of these sports in Delhi (the last Commonwealth Games, in 2010) and some of them were incredibly nervous about the implications of providing a sample so we ran mock testing with them. It was added that we showed them exactly what happens and it is not necessarily normal but it’s definitely necessary.

UK Anti-Doping will run the testing program in Glasgow and it will deliver a mandatory education program to all Home Nations teams during the run-in to the Games. All athletes selected to compete at the Games, as well as more than 200 coaches, must sign up to the education program of UK Anti-Doping. This is made necessary for ensuring that they do not make an innocent mistake by taking an illegal supplement or medication.

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