The Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) affiliates are pleading for an increase in funding towards anti-doping initiatives.
The affiliates made the plea during the BNOC’s virtual Ordinary General Assembly OGA) while responding to the commission’s proposed budget for anti-doping activities.
The BNOC chief executive officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho had earlier informed affiliates that the commission needed a minimum budget of P1 000 000 to carry out anti-doping.
Serufho explained that the increase came as the BNOC anticipated the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) would elevate compliance standards for all countries.
The BNOC CEO said in the coming year, countries like Botswana will be expected to, among others, conduct blood test samples and create Athletes Biological Passports (ABP) to go along with the current urine sample testing.
“The ABP is the athlete’s DNA,” he explained. “It is an electronic record that profiles biological markers of an athlete and is used to detect whether an athlete has used banned substances even if none has been detected,” Serufho adds.
Through ABP, anti-doping agencies are able to detect substance induced alterations to an athlete’s DNA through a period of time.
“For a long time, we as developing countries were allowed to get away with not carrying out blood tests and ABP for our athletes,” Serufho explained.
“This was however not the case with advanced countries where these standards were rigorously enforced and their compliance was based on such,” he added.
The introduction of these testing routines will require training of testing agents as well as acquisition of new equipment for sample collection and analysis.
“These testing routines should have started a way back but as I said, we were allowed to get away with not doing it,” said Serufho.
Commenting on the issue, Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) President Mmetla Masire called on the BNOC to increase further their proposed anti-doping budget.
Masire reasoned that given the local NADA’s inability to carry out more anti-doping tests, P1 000 000 budget was not enough.
The BCA president said as of now, just a few athletes from some sporting codes are being tested while many may never get to be tested.
The same sentiments were shared by other affiliates like Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA), Botswana Badminton Association (BBA) and Botswana Hockey Association (BHA).
BoBA president Thato Patlakwe, said an increase on the proposed anti-doping budget was needed ‘to increase the testing and education capacity.’