15 June 2017

Africa: United Effort Needed to Fight Doping - WADA-Africa Director

The Director of World Anti-Doping Agency-Africa (WADA) Rodney Swigelaar has said that no country and sport is immune to doping stressing that combating the vice in Africa ought to be a collective effort by all stakeholders in the industry.

Rodney made the remarks on Tuesday during the official opening of the two-day Regional Anti-Doping Executive Board Meeting and training of Education officers at Marriott Hotel, Kigali.

"In Africa we are making strides, but still have a lot of work to do; building basic structures, capacities, partnership with national Olympic Committees and governments," Swigelaar said in his opening remarks.

He added that, "Doping has far reaching implications but through governments and collective effort we can have the means to support anti-doping programs."

Swigelaar further explained that there is need to deal with federations and individual athletes by combining the possibilities that are available to make progress.

He noted, "We are here in Kigali to ensure that Zone V agencies put up structures to fight doping, educate athletes about what is right and what is wrong, that administrators in power can take decisions that protect athletes, that governments should enact policies to fight the scourge of doping."

The Zone 5 Regional Anti-Doping workshop attracted ten African countries namely: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt and hosts Rwanda.

In his remarks, Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee president Ambassador Valens Munyabagisha noted that it's important that athletes and anyone in sports movement to know that it is illegal to use

Several doping cases have happened in Zone V countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and last year, Rwanda long-distance runner Robert Kajuga was banned for 4 years by the (RADO) for evading an out of competition drug test in 2015.

In Africa, WADA partners with member countries to provide anti-doping systems when necessary, monitors the implementation, reports on how countries are doing on anti-doping and checks whether they have appropriate programs in place.

As technology involves with the use of prohibited substances, reports indicate that WADA is investing a lot of money into research and works with pharmaceuticals so that it can detect substances or forewarn its member agencies.

On Thursday, Regional Anti-Doping Executive Board members will conduct training dubbed "Rwanda Stakeholders Anti-Doping Workshop" at the national level to create awareness, prevent and fight the use of illicit substances in Rwandan sport.

Thereafter, all Rwandan sports federations will convene to establish a strong national doping agency (RADO) which sets out standards in the fight against doping in domestic sports.

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