Protection of Clean Sports Priority for Olympic Movement

Gaborone: The sporting community has received with shock and disappointment, the recently released report into widespread doping allegations issued by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission. The report found allegations of widespread doping during their investigation, which resulted in the expulsion of Russia by the International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF) for anti-doping violations and the subsequent shut down of the WADA accredited lab in Moscow.

Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), as the custodian of anti-doping programmes in Botswana is committed to both the World Anti Doping Code “The Code” and the Olympic values of fair play, friendship and excellence in sport. While Botswana does not have an independent National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO), to comprehensively deal with doping control related issues, in the interim and as per the dictates of the Code, the BNOC has hitherto assumed the role of the NADO. This is while, the Botswana Government and the BNOC, the two parties that as per the Code are jointly responsible for setting us a NADO are still discussing the modalities to setting up such an office.

With this mandate, BNOC has over the years and still continues to deliver anti-doping education programmes and as well as test athletes, both in and out of competition, with a view to ensure fair play and clean sport by Botswana athletes and indeed by international athletes that compete within the Botswana jurisdiction. Commenting on the issue, the BNOC CEO Tuelo Serufho remarked that doping in sport has in the recent years become an even greater concern than it had ever been over the years.

“Not so long ago, there was a big doping scandal in cycling, involving many athletes including Lance Armstrong, today there is the Russian doping scandal and in between there have been other cases”

“These recent cases have clearly highlighted that doping in sport is a much bigger threat than we had perhaps fathomed, and in the premise therefore, it is imperative that efforts to educate athletes and members of the entourages on the dangers of doping in sport are scaled up, as so are the general efforts to fight the scourge” Serufho Said.

Serufho stated that the fact that Botswana, like all of Africa except South Africa does not have her own testing laboratory has not deterred her from carrying out tests. “We do carry out tests whenever there are national and international competitions and also follow athletes to their houses or workplaces, outside competition to obtain their samples for analysis, which is done at the WADA accredited laboratory in Bloemfontein, South Africa.” Remarked Serufho.

“To date, two international athletes have returned adverse results from the tests conducted by us and were accordingly stripped of their prize monies, disqualified from the events and suspended from sport. The one athlete was a Kenyan national who won the then Gaborone Steinmetz Marathon in 2013 and the other was a South African national who finished in the top 3 Of the Toyota 1000 Dessert Race in 2013” said Serufho

As a country, we commit to increase Botswana has also developed country specific rules with input from National Federations. The Botswana Government signed the UNESCO Convention on 06 August in 2009 and ratified to the Copenhagen Declaration of the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport on May 30 2007. Equally, as a country Botswana is to continue upholding the highest standards with respect to the fight against the surge of doping in sport.