Officers of the Bahamas Anti-doping Commission (BADC) visited Abaco on March 19 to conduct an awareness seminar on “Promoting Clean Sports”. The presentation, organized by a local officer of BADC, Dr. Chervon Mackey-Morley, was aimed at familiarizing Coaches and Athletes as well as other stakeholders in the sports community, about the anti-doping testing procedures.
The seminar was held at St. John the Baptist Anglican Church and started at 10am in spite of poor attendance that early. Anti-doping officer, Nurse Beatrice Arthur from Nassau, welcomed the assembly which comprised representatives of the Abaco Association of Certified Officials, two athletes, Bijuan and Braenae Bain, and two young anti- doping officers; Jevaughn Toote from Abaco and Krishon walker, from Nassau.
She mentioned that WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency ) was created in 1999. Its regulations follow a code that ensure that everybody has the same standard of testing worldwide.
She also explained the purpose of the seminar. Because there has been notorious cases of famous athletes caught doping as well as more and more athletes competing in national and international sports, testing for dope has now become a regular happening, not only worldwide but also in national competitions.
The BADC members think that interested parties such as coaches and athletes should know the procedure involved as well as the substances that are considered drugs and those allowed in case of medical necessity (supported by doctor’s certificate, the latter registered and approved by WADA). There is a list of allowed substances such as vitamins but it is recommended to mention to the testing officer what has been ingested prior to the testing.
Of course Steroids, EPO (erythropoietin), Marijuana, Stimulants, Masking Agents and Narcotics are on the prohibited substance list. The presenter spoke about the effects of those substances.
The presentation was supported by a powerpoint video and material handed out by Dr. Mackey-Morley as one registered upon entering the premises.
Dr. Patti Symonette, one of the visitors from Nassau, took over with a demonstration of how the testing is conducted in real circumstances. The two young athletes present were paired with testing officers who went through the complete procedure in detail, from the prerequisites involved in giving a urine sample to the handling of the containers and their transfer to a sealed, numbered box to only be opened in a lab, with no name showing to identify the party.
An Anti-doping officer must be present at all time to make sure that there was no interference with the content and the way it is submitted.
Testing samples done in The Bahamas are usually sent to a laboratory in Canada which is approved and recognized by WADA.
Once selected to be tested, the athlete must remain on site. No one else is allowed in the testing station except in the case of a minor. The athlete has to fill a form with his/her information duly verified with the proper ID by the testing officer. Once notification has been received, an officer must accompany the athlete at all time. Usually two samples of urine are submitted, sample A & B, the latter taken one hour after the first one will be kept for ten years.
Strict control and adherence to the rules are enforced at all time to ensure the integrity of the process. The athlete is the only one to handle the cup, to open the sealed numbered Styrofoam container where the two matching numbered glass bottles are kept. He/she will transfer the liquid into those bottles and reseal the container. The boxes are kept into a locked refrigerator until they are ready to be sent to the lab.
Athletes can also be tested by donated blood supplied through venal function. The same rules apply as in the case of urine testing. Keeping the athlete’s blood is used to create his or her Biological Passport.
As the morning progressed more people registered included a few coaches. After lunch the session consisted of reviewing the material and ensuring that it had been understood properly by means of questions and answers.