After the ban . . .
Sandra Osborne isn’t turning a blind eye to the recent anti-doping violations. Nor is she turning her back on them. The Barbados Olympic Association boss believes her body should ensure that athletes who are suspended for banned substances are successfully returned to the sport instead of watching them quit altogether.
Osborne expressed the sentiment in a wide-ranging interview with SUNSPORT in light of an earlier report this month detailing at least six recent anti-doping rule infractions.
“I would say ithat violations will occur, unfortunately, as that is the reality of the world so if they occur is there anything we can do to assist that athlete in rehabilitating back into the main stream of their sport?” Osborne questioned.
“We don’t want the athlete to retire and walk away if there’s hope of them coming back in. You don’t want the athlete to commit breaches when they’re under suspension because there are certain things they cannot do while they are serving out their ban. Are they fully aware of it? Do they understand what they have to do?
“To me it’s such a huge area of education that we have to round out the development of our athletes. Whenever you have anti-doping rule violations I think it always begs the question whether the country or the organisation that is responsible is doing enough. That is the obvious question. We had a couple of violations within the last couple of months so it raises the question,” she added.
The comments come just weeks after it was revealed that elite sprinters Levi Cadogan and Jade Bailey and bodybuilder Hoskin Worrell all returned adverse analytical findings from testing done in the last quarter of 2017.
Another bodybuilder, Stevenson Belle and former Barbados Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BABFF) president Manasseh King are provisionally suspended for other infractions while Ryan Haynes is currently serving a ban.
Haynes and Belle didn’t submit to drug testing at the 2016 Darcy Beckles Classic to be in violation of the World Anti-Doping Code under Article 2.3 while King wasn’t compliant with the NADC.
It serves as a disturbing spike in anti-doping violations for Bajan athletes, as sportsmen Barry Forde, Darren Matthews, Ivorn McKnee, Martinas Durrant and Roderick Waterman have all been hit with bans within the last ten years.
Even more troubling still is that suspended athletes have been reported to be in attendance at major sporting events in Barbados, which is in clear violation of their bans.
“Athlete education is critical because clearly there is an issue. One of the things I believe is that we just cannot sit down and say, ‘Oh, well’,” reasoned Osborne.
“I have said to our academy I want us to start looking at the athlete education piece because we do a pretty good job of coaching education, we do a pretty good job of administrators’ education but I am not seeing the same focus on athletes’ education, and by athletes’ education I am talking about the whole gamut of anti-doping.
“The National Anti-Doping Commission is responsible for education in Barbados and what I would like to do is to be able to work more closely with them because we have an academy here and they have programmes going on.
“I haven’t spoken to anybody so I don’t know if this is feasible, but in my mind I’m saying we have a common goal here because Barbados has signed on to the WADA code and this is the executing agency and we also are the umbrella body for national federations. So surely we have a common interest in making sure to educate our athletes,” Osborne added. (JM)