Individuals need to educate and inform themselves on the use of prohibitive substances and methods in sport.
Secretary of the National Anti-Doping Commission, Neil Murrell, issued this plea, noting that national and international players over the years had not been given enough education on the use of prohibitive substances and it was incumbent on the association to spread the word of not using these substances.
Mr. Murrell, who is also the Deputy Director of Sports at the National Sports Council, was speaking to local athletes over the weekend at the National Council on Substance Abuse’s SPORTS- Not Drugs Athlete Workshop, held at the Barbados Olympic Association, in the Gymnasium Complex.
He said: "We don’t want to have a situation where in the long run or even in the near future we find athletes inadvertently using prohibitive substances, for it affects a country and it affects families as we have seen in the cases of Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones.?? So, our being here is really a preventive and deterrent method, so that students would learn to play fair and play true or what is called the spirit of sport."
Explaining that the response from those attending the workshop was overwhelming, the Deputy Director noted that a lot of the younger athletes were unaware of the harmful effects but by asking a lot of questions they were able to gain knowledge. He further added that upon leaving the workshop the athletes assured him that they were willing to play on a true and level playing field.
He stated that over the course of his 12 years working with the anti-doping commission he had encountered a number of athletes who used prohibitive substances and he had seen the devastating effects of illicit drug use on not only the athletes but their families.
"My role in educating is to ensure that everybody has a good conscience at the end of the day with respect to drug use and to make sure that it is a level playing field,?? as it should be in sport," said Mr. Murrell.
In relation to young, upcoming athletes, the Deputy Director advised: "There is nothing better than good old fashioned hard work coupled with the abilities that you have …?? I think they should also try to get as much information on their respective discipline so they can add a training regime to what they are doing now.?? I would also say to them that they should try to stay as far away from prohibitive substances as possible.
"There are many booklets, leaflets, there are even websites which would indicate the substances that can be used and not used. However, it is up to athletes to make themselves aware… The World Anti-doping Agency and the National Anti-doping Commission through the World Anti-doping Code indicates that there is a strict liability principle which means that the athlete is responsible for whatever he or she ingests in his/her body… It’s not the coach, it’s not the manager or the support personnel, but it is the athlete… That is the message that we try to get over to the young ones here as they go further in their athletic career," he charged.??