Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Olopeng grilled over athletes’ subversion of anti-doping rules

By John Regonamanye

In the wake of escalating reports of doping in Botswana, a member of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi traditional leaders Kgosi Kgomotso Boiditswe has asked for clarification from the minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Thapelo Olopeng over the type of drugs prohibited at the Olympics and athletics competitions.

This follows cascading developments in recent months over an increase in drug related incidences in the country, the latest culprit being 400m athlete Lydia Jele who was recently found guilty by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) of having taken a banned substance.

“Time and again our Ministry alongside the BNSC conducts sessions aimed at sensitising aspiring and seasoned athletes against performance enhancing drugs,” revealed minister Olopeng showcasing a 20 page list of substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The minister also highlighted that the kind of drugs that are prohibited are those that enhance performance in athletes and influence or assist chemical substances in the body.

He also said the performance of an athlete should be based “on the athletes natural ability,” adding that every year the World Anti-Doping Agency publishes a list of banned substances which all professional athletes are expected to abide by.

“The drugs are prohibited not only in the Olympics but in all competitions,” said the minister responding to Kgosi Boiditswe’s question.

“Athletes are also tested outside competitions and therefore athletes should be free of banned substances at all times…that is during competition and when there are no competitions,” said the minister.

Amongst other things Kgosi Boiditswe expressed unease over the harsh sentences imposed on local atheletes for doping which he described as a “murder case and sentence of four year jail term.”

Years ago another star athlete Amantle Montsho was handed a two-year doping ban after testing positive for methylhexaneamine at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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