In the morning of Thursday, August 29, members of the Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission ( BADC) , came to Marsh Harbour from Nassau and Freeport to meet with local people involved in the sports community, such as coaches, teachers, Principals and parents. A few athletes were also present at the meeting which took place in the Prime Minister’s Office in the new Government Complex.
Even though only two cases of sport-doping have been reported over the years in The Bahamas, with the resurgence of sports activities in schools and the achievements- national and international- of many Bahamian athletes, the BADC, which accepted the world anti-doping code in 2003 and is a signatory of the World Anti- Doping Association, felt that it was imperative to bring the subject to the attention of the people involved with sports in various islands of the country.
The MP for North Abaco, Renardo Curry and Administrator Preston Cunningham briefly attended the function, offering their support and their comments on the subject.
A local DADC coordinator, Jevaughn Toote, acted as MC, welcoming the assembly and introducing the speakers.
The first person to take the stage was BADC‘s Board Member, Roscow Davis, who is responsible for education. He gave a brief history on how the commission came to be formed, stating that it dealt with all matters relating to “clean sport.” The anti-doping commission has to ensure that everybody is aware of its existence and that athletes will not take anything internally or externally to enhance their performance.
Different committees within the commission deal with testing of the athletes, discipline and appeals. There is also a Therapeutic Committee that deals with medication an athlete may genuinely require. Only the therapeutic committee can issue an exemption certificate that should be applied for three months in advance before the person’s participation in a sport’s event.
The second board member, also a representative of Global Drug Reference Online (DRO)David Morley, was next to make a presentation on how doping was defined. One or more of the following statements constitute anti-doping rule violations, he stated:
– The presence of a prohibited substance in an athlete’s sample
– The use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or method
– Refusing to submit to sample collection after being notified
– Failure to file athlete’s whereabouts information and missed tests
-Tampering with any part of the doping control process
-Possession of a prohibited substance
-Trafficking a prohibited substance or measure
-Administering or attempting to administer a prohibited substance or method to an athlete.
He subsequently went through a list, updated every year, of which were the prohibited substances and methods.
The list, mentioned Mr. Morley, applied to athletes both in, and out, of competition.
A substance or methods is placed on the prohibited list when it has the potential to enhance or it enhances sport performance; when it represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete and when it violates the spirit of sport.
Athletes can be tested randomly or if there is a suspicion of abuse. Athletes in vacation will still be tested.
Athletes under 17 years of age are not usually tested, but should it become necessary, they must have parental permission and be accompanied by an adult.
Before a refreshment break, people were invited to ask questions or make comments.
After partaking from platters of pastries and fruits, members of the audience were informed on the doping control process by Nurse Beatrice Arthur. She is the Lead Doping Control Officer with extensive experience in sample collection.
She explained that once athletes have been selected for an anti-doping check, they must comply by reporting to the doping station right away and be accompanied at all time by a chaperon until the tests are performed.
Sanctions for violating anti-doping regulations may range from a reprimand to a lifetime ban.
Except for the Secretary, Mona Michel, the members of the BADC are all volunteers.
Dr. Chervon Morley was the local coordinator of the event. Together with Jevaughn Toote, they represent BADC on Abaco.