Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Vice – President Moses Moruisi has warned local athletes to stay away from performance enhancing substances during the current lockdown.
While testing of athletes is disrupted due to the ongoing fight against the COVID 19 pandemic, the BNOC vice president says this does not provide a window for sport cheats.
Moruisi, who is also the Africa Zone VI Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) Board Member for Botswana, says should athletes opt to use any WADA banned substances during the current environment, ‘it will detected.’
He observed that ‘while it is not possible to test right now because of the current social distancing measures, when the situation normalise testing will continue.’
“If any of our athletes uses a banned substance during this period, it will be detected,” the BNOC vice president warned.
While athletes are confined to their homes for and training on their own, Moruisi says, ‘they are still expected to fulfil their whereabouts obligations all the times even during the lockdown period.’
He goes on to acknowledge that while it is difficult to monitor athletes to stay clean, he is confident that ‘as responsible people who have been educated on matters of anti-doping, they would not cheat.’
Moruisi says before the current social distancing measurers came in place, RADO provided athletes with anti-doping educational materials and sessions were organised.
The BNOC vice president’s warning to local athletes come at a time when the World Anti-Doping Agency has also issued a similar warning to athletes worldwide.
This past Wednesday, WADA issued its ‘updated guidance for Anti-Doping Organisations focused on the resumption of athlete testing’ post COVID 19 and related lockdowns.
According to WADA President Witold Bańka, “throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, WADA has been keeping in close contact with Anti-Doping Organizations in order to provide leadership and support in the face of this unprecedented situation.”
“As always, our first priority must be public health, safety and social responsibility. Therefore, we continue to urge everyone to follow closely the advice of relevant health authorities and government agencies,” he said.
While the pandemic has disrupted the usual anti-doping tests for athletes, Bańka warned that WADA would catch up with athletes who attempt to circumvent the system.
“What this pandemic has demonstrated is the need for further innovation in anti-doping. WADA knows that to make anti-doping more effective, we continually need to innovate,” he said.
The WADA president said through their work, in collaboration with the wider anti-doping community, ‘researching new sample collection and analytical techniques has been ramped up, in particular in the areas of dried-blood-spot analysis and artificial intelligence.’
“We continue to develop practical applications for these innovations while ensuring the appropriate consultation process is followed, and that they are legally sound and in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and related International Standard before coming into force,” the WADA President warned.