Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Botswana Athletics optimistic of meeting new anti doping obligations

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) vice president Kenneth Kikwe is optimistic the association will meet its anti doping obligations.

This follows the placement of Botswana in category B by the Integrity Unit Board of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) this past Friday.

Under the categorisation, category ‘A’ is made of countries on the watch list for doping violations, Category B for countries enjoying international level success while Category C is for ‘smaller federations with limited international success in athletics.’

The categorisation places Botswana among athletics powerhouses who will have to carry out rigorous testing and monitoring of its own athletes for usage of performance enhancing drugs.

As a Category ‘B’ National Federation, Botswana’s strict obligations will include testing, anti doping oversight function and Anti-Doping Education for athletes and athletes support personnel.

According to a press release from the IAAF’s Integrity Unit Board, ‘Category ‘B’ National Federations shall ensure that, in relation to the pool of athletes from which the National Team for any IAAF World Championships or Olympic Games is likely to be selected, there is an effective, intelligent and proportionate Testing plan maintained and implemented at national level.’

Botswana will also have to ensure that athletes selected for any IAAF World Championships or Olympic Games, who are not already on the International Registered Testing Pool, are adequately tested prior to the relevant competitions.

The testing will include ‘in-competition Testing, no notice out-of-competition Testing and pre-competition blood Testing for screening purposes (Athlete Biological Passport) and analysis as prescribed under WADA’s Technical Document on Sport-Specific Analyses (TDSSA).’

Botswana will also be expected to ‘have sufficient resources within its governance and/or management structure to oversee and ensure the organisation’s compliance.’

“Each Category ‘B’ National Federation shall appoint one person as the primary contact for the Integrity Unit who shall have the requisite authority to represent the National Federation.

A Category ‘B’ National Federation shall use its best endeavours to ensure that every Athlete in a National Team for a IAAF World Athletics Series competition and all Athlete Support Personnel under its jurisdiction participating in such a competition are subject to mandatory anti-doping education programmes that provide updated and accurate information on at least the following issues: substances and methods on the Prohibited List, Anti-Doping Rule Violations, Consequences of doping, including sanctions, health and social consequences, doping control procedures, Athletes and Athletes Support Personnel’s rights,” so reads the Integrity Unit Board statement.

Reached for comment, BAA vice president Kenneth Kikwe said the placing of Botswana in Category B was all along expected.

“If you look at our population to athlete ratio and the quality of athletes we have, we are one of the best countries in the world in athletics. It is no surprise that we have been placed in the same category as your Jamaica, Australia, United States of America, Great Britain and South Africa, just to mention a few,” Kikwe opined.

As such, Kikwe said there is no doubt that Botswana will meet most of the necessary requirements for compliance when the new categorisation rules start being effected in early 2019.

“We already meet some of the requirements and obligations. We also have the Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) to call on for help as they already have anti-doping structures and personnel in place,” the BAA vice president explained.

If everything goes according to the BAA’s wish, Kikwe said by early next year, the association intends to have a fully functional medical committee to help them on issues of testing.

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