WADA Continuing Drive To Educate About Doping

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will be educating young athletes about the possible dangers of doping after 15-year-old Russian twins Olga and Yelena Paushkina received doping bans of two years.

Olga and Yelena, who won the 1500 meters gold medal at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht in a swift time of 4 minutes and 25.98 seconds, tested positive on April 24 for unspecified “prohibited substances” and the bans were confirmed by the Anti-Doping Commission of the All-Russian Athletics Federation.

Recently, 16-year-old weightlifter Chika Amalaha from Nigeria tested positive for banned substances and was stripped of her 53 kilogram gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow earlier this summer. The gold was later awarded to Dika Toua of Papua New Guinea. This was after both samples of Amalaha confirmed the adverse analytical findings of Amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide, which are both prohibited as masking agents and diuretics under class S5 of the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Amiloride and Hydrochlorothiazide are used to lose body weight. Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper had remarked Amalaha was suspended from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Amalaha did not contest the findings at her hearing, according to a statement by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). The silver medal was awarded to Santoshi Matsa of India, while compatriot Swati Singh was upgraded to bronze.

Ben Nichols, WADA’s senior manager of media relations and communications, remarked that WADA has taken different measures for educating young athletes about the dangers of banned drugs, either inadvertently or deliberately. Nichols remarked we are aware of the suspensions issued to the two athletes, but we must wait to receive the full case file before we can review the reasons for the decision and added that WADA generally speaking has long been concerned about the need to educate young and aspiring athletes about the dangers of doping.

Nichols added WADA through its Play True Generation program has put in place successful preventative measures which have educated the youth on the consequences of doping, and have helped promote fair play, values-based messages to not just aspiring athletes but to their coaches and support personnel, too and athlete-to-youth interaction is an excellent way of getting the clean sport message across through the WADA Athlete Committee. He went on to remark that the Outreach program of WADA at last month’s Youth Olympic Games provided an excellent example of how the athletes’ message can cut through and reach the young in an easy-to-understand, engaging way. He also remarked tools to educate the young on anti-doping are now well established importantly and are available for anti-doping organizations to roll out across their own programs worldwide.

Two more Russian middle distance runners, 25-year-old Vyacheslav Shalamov and 24-year-old Polina Dontsov along with 22-year-old steeplechaser Damir Saurbayev received similar bans.

In the recent times, many top athletes have been accused or found guilty of doping. In July, Vladimir Dyatchin, the two-time world open water champion, was provisionally suspended after he failed an anti-doping test. Breaststroke world record holder Yulia Efimova and European champion and world record holder Vitali Melnikov are presently serving doping suspensions.

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