Saturday, September 25, 2021

BNOC CEO at odds over how to put doping crisis to bed

Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho is at pains to explain what the country may not be doing right in the fight against doping in sports. Despite concerted efforts by the country’s National Anti Doping Organisation (NADO) to educate athletes on doping, local athletes continue to return negative analytical findings from tests.

In what will be a cause for concern the BNOC and the local NADO, barely three months since one 400m national team woman athlete tested positive for a banned substance, another local athlete has tested positive for banned substances. Asked what the country might not be doing right in the fight against doping, Serufho said as the BNOC, they cannot pinpoint what that they might not be doing right.

“We are not even sure ourselves what we are doing wrong. To the best of our knowledge, when you compare us to countries in Sub Saharan Africa, we are amongst the best performing countries in terms of education and in terms of the number of tests per capita that we carry out,” Serufho explained.

“But still, we are getting these adverse analytical findings. Maybe there is something that we are not doing right, which is why we are considering coming up with a new course of action,” he continued. Among other things, the BNOC CEO said they are considering having their own sanctions if it is determined that an athlete may be using anything that may put them at risk.

On whether Botswana must now be considered a high risk in terms of doping, a cagey Serufho said Botswana is not necessarily ‘a doping country.’ On what they are doing when concerns are raised that some athletes may be using banned substances, Serufho said they follow up on such concerns to ascertain their truthfulness.

“Where we have heard there may be such concerns, we have made deliberate efforts to engage athletes to establish the truth and then advice and warn them accordingly,” he said. “But where we have not heard, sadly we would not know there might be a concern and we cannot act,” he added.

The BNOC CEO said to ensure athletes do not fall foul to doping, they encourage local athletes not to use supplements but to rather lean towards a proper diet as using supplements in Botswana is a gamble. Meanwhile, regarding the latest doping scandal, Serufho said the male athlete at the centre of the case had tested positive for clenbuterol.

The athlete is said to have been caught following tests carried out by the local NADO at the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) organised Night Series which was held at Francistown recently. Serufho said what concerns BNOC the most is that the athletes returning adverse analytical findings are the ones who constantly receive education on doping.

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