BOA drug clean-up mission
EMBARASSED!That is the clear message from president of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA), Steve Stoute, as more Barbadian athletes fail drug tests administered by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Stoute, one of Barbados’ longest serving sports administrators, has promised that the BOA would do everything in its power to clean up this country’s image as a sporting nation.In recent years, a number of bodybuilders has run afoul of WADA’s code.
Stoute is far from pleased about it, and in an exclusive interview, noted the BOA would be increasing its anti-doping stance through collaboration and co-operation with Barbados’ National Anti-Doping Commission, by strengthening its public service output, and increasing education programmes across the board.
“These drug failures are extremely disappointing, and can be a devastating blow, basically to the Olympic movement in Barbados,” a concerned Stoute told SUNSPORT at the BOA’s headquarters in Wildey.
“This country was at the forefront of the anti-dpoing movement, and one of the first signatories to WADA.
Dr (Adrian) Lorde and many others have played key roles in the anti-drug movement at all levels and this curtails a lot of the work they have done.”
Stoute noted that the BOA as a whole was very concerned with the increased incidences of Bajan athletes failing drug tests, and vowed the association would increase its education programmes open to more than 30 national sporting associations regarding anti-doping.
He didn’t go as far to say, however, that Barbados’ image as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had been tarnished by recent events.
Last week, the BOA hosted a workshop on anti-doping for secondary school physical education teachers, headed by Tessa Chaderton-Shaw, regional administrator of the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation, and Neil Murrell, secretary of Barbados’ National Anti-Doping Commission.
“We still have a good image, but as we get athletes that test positive, or allegedly test positive, it does have an adverse effect.
“We have been to major symposiums, and up on the board are lists of countries which have had athletes fail tests. When we see the Barbados flag up there, and its way up top because it begins with B, it’s a very embarassing thing,” the president noted.
But, according to Stoute, the BOA has had only positive feedback from the IOC because of its long-standing commitment to WADA’s policy and its involvement in efforts to clean up the sport.
“The BOA’s constitution is one of the more modern ones that conforms to WADA policy, and there are not many countries our size, or certainly within this region, that have moved as far as we have in the quest to wipe out the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports,” Stoute added.
He said Barbados, as an Olympic movement member, still gets praise internationally. “Maybe the escalation of drug failures has not been noticed. It is, after all, happening all over the world and in most instances far more prevalent that what we have seen in Barbados. I don’t think we have the glare as much when compared to other international bodies,” the BOA chief opined.
Stoute said the BOA held a board meeting recently, and the issue of Barbados’ recent upswing in positive tests had been heavily discussed.
“What makes positive tests by athletes even more embarassing, is that when you look at all the steps we are taking as an Olympic member, it shows we have numerous programmes aimed at educating athletes, coaches and even parents about the dangers of doping. I believe that in most instances our message is working,” Stoute added.