Dealing with sports cheats
There might be no more important competition in sports than the Olympic Games, which will take place this August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Samoa is also honoured to send some of its best athletes to the event, giving their best to achieve the gold medal.
But especially in sports, the disappointment cannot get any worse if it is proven that an athlete obtained his or her success by fraud.
Taking banned substances to do better than others is not only a criminal offence, it is also a big disenchantment for the spiritual thought of competition that can be found in any kind of sport, be it in an international context like the Olympics or even on a smaller scale like a local event in Samoa.
To prevent these disappointments, Samoa Anti-Doping Agency (S.A.D.A) has launched a local campaign against doping in sports.
“We are hosting this anti-doping workshop within the context of our partnership with the Oceania Regional Anti-Doping Organization, which is based in Fiji,” said Tagifano So’onalole, Doping Control Officer of S.A.D.A.
“We feel that there must be much more awareness for our national federations, in particular our athletes and also their coaches, sports administrators and all those people that actually support the achievements of our athletes here in Samoa.”
According to Ms. So’onalole, this awareness was best raised by informing the workshop’s participants, which all came from the world of sports, including coaches, sports club members and athletes themselves, by telling them in detail how doping can be prevented from an early stage on.
“We are sharing new ideas here, which for instance include the presentation of a new code that stresses out ten different kinds of rule violations for doping in modern sports.
“So if young athletes for example find out that a coach or a parent […] is involved in providing potentially banned substances, this can also affect their own career, since they might be sanctioned as well. [This workshop] offers a really good program to have a better understanding of what anti-doping is about.”
But the workshop hosted by S.A.D.A. did not only aim at informing members of Samoa’s world of ports about how rules against doping are violated.
Leituala Dr. Ben Matalavea of the Oceania Regional Anti-Doping Organization also told the attendees about the formal principle of international anti-doping organizations.
“Every country should have an independent body to deal with anti-doping. Samoa’s Anti-Doping Agency accomplishes this task by being directly subordinated to the Oceania Regional Anti-Doping Organization, called O.R.A.D.O.”.
For Dr. Matalavea, the importance of an independent organisation to control possible cases of doping is inevitable. As one of the main parts of anti-doping regulations, he said “it is necessary to explain that the code to prevent doping, which is applied by the organisations, cannot be interfered by anybody.”
The participants of the workshops were also asked to take over an active role in discussing and explaining the regulations and rules related to anti-doping measures by the hosting organisations.