Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) has warned local athletes to exercise greater control over what they consume to avoid inadvertent doping.
The warning follows the worrying trend which has seen local athletes sanctioned after returning adverse analytical findings from doping test carried out on them.
In the latest episode, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) through its Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) Disciplinary Tribunal slapped Botswana’s 400m track athlete Lydia Jele with a four year after she tested positive for a banned substance.
The athlete is said to have tested positive for Metandienone which is an androgen and anabolic steroid (AAS).
In her defence, the athlete had contested that she may have ingested the banned substance by mistake through the usage of her husband’s water bottle.
Jele’s version was corroborated by her husband, who is said to have conceded that he had used Dianabol, which is a brand name for Metandienone.
The explanation was however ‘taken with caution’ by the AIU Discplinary Committee which ruled that ‘the athlete was ‘liable for the presence and use of any prohibited substances.’
“As we do preach all the time, athletes must be careful about what they consume, bearing in mind that they take responsibility for whatever may be found in their bodies,” BNOC CEO Tuelo Serufho advised.
He said in this regard, athletes also have to be alert to the fact that there is always a possibility of cross contamination and should therefore be cautious in everything they do.
“We always tell our athletes there is a risk of cross contamination even in supplements that are not banned and they therefore should avoid anything related to supplements,” said the BNOC CEO.
Among the most preached gospels of anti doping, local athletes have always been cautioned to even avoid food from sources they do not trust to avoid being caught on the wrong side of the anti doping rules.
On how athletes should prepare for maximum performance, Serufho athletes ‘should focus on eating well and getting good enough rest for good recovery.’
“I would further reiterate that athletes won’t find banned substances from the banana, apple and other fruit purchased from grocery stores, nor would they find such in our everyday mabele (sorghum), morogo (vegetables) rice or meat,” he said.
“It is the strange things that get them into trouble. The moment they go to a pharmacy to buy stuff that they barely understand themselves, they should know they are courting trouble,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, one official commenting on condition of anonymity said ‘given that the substance Jele is alleged to have used is a steroid,’ the judgement may not be deemed harsh.
“Given the nature of the substance the athlete is said to have tested positive for, which is a steroid, she may be lucky to have got away with a four year ban,” said the official.
According to the AIU, Jele’s ban will commence from 14th October 2017, a date when her samples were collected ‘as there is no evidence that she competed after the sample was taken.’