The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has revised the World Anti-doping Code, which will come into effect on 1 January 2015. The purpose of the code is to protect the athlete’s fundamental right to participate in a doping-free sport and to promote health, fairness and equality for all athletes. The updated code places an emphasis on some pertinent points, in particular, making anti-doping programmes mandatory by National Federations. The increased use of non-analytical methods to prove doping was highlighted, such as athlete admissions, intelligence and investigations.
WADA is offering substantial assistance to athletes who share information regarding doping violations with the benefit of reduced sentences. It was noted that 20-30% of positive findings already come from methods other than the testing of athletes. Non-analytical violations also consist of evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection, as well as whereabouts failures and tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control. Possession of a prohibited substance and trafficking or attempted trafficking in any prohibited substance or prohibited method is also cautioned.
Analytical violations consist of the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample. It was emphasised at the SAIDS (South African Institute for Drug-free Sport) World Anti-Doping Code conference held in Johannesburg in October that it is the duty of the Federations to protect the clean athletes. This is done by vigorously educating athletes, coaches and support personnel by providing an environment that enables information to be shared and by driving the testing process within the sport.
Doping within school sport remains a concern. Testing at schools is currently in its pilot phase from SAIDS and sanctioning falls under the jurisdiction of the school with the potential removal of guilty athletes from organised school sport only. It does not include banning from sport outside of school. The information on learners who are found guilty of doping is not shared outside of the school or SAIDS.
Cycling South Africa has incorporated the WADA’s Anti-Doping regulations into Cycling SA’s rules and regulation, and wants to establish a Medical/Anti-doping Commission, which will incorporate a legal expert, medical expert, high performance expert and/or an athlete representative. The specific focus areas of the new commission will be to liaise with SAIDS, WADA and the UCI, and to roll out anti-doping education campaigns to athletes, coaches, and support personnel. The Medical/Anti-doping Commission will provide support to athletes who are informed of a positive adverse analytical finding against them, in the form of advice pertaining to the process and the legal implications.
The Commission will ensure that at all Cycling SA and UCI events carry the correct doping control facilities made available to SAIDS and/or the UCI.