Doping is the use of prohibited medications, drugs or treatments by athletes with the intention of improving their athletic performance. To avoid or limit that, a body named the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999 as an international independent agency composed and funded equally by the sports movement and governments of the world.
Its key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) – the document harmonising anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries.
Speaking in an interview with The Business Weekly Sports on the sidelines of the workshop, Kamanga said local NSAs need to start following their respective international federations’ anti-doping rules and regulations and implementation of programmes.
“In Botswana, especially in terms of anti-doping education, NSAs tend to leave it to the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) to do everything but is actually for the NSAs to mobilise resources to have anti-doping education, awareness and testing of their athletes,” he said.
“They must also test their own athletes because that is not the responsibility of BNOC or the government alone. That is the most important thing that they need to realise. Even in their obligations to their international federations, it is written that they have to undertake certain activities in compliance with anti-doping.”
Driving his point home, Kamanga said it becomes a problem if this is neglected because athletes belong to NSAs. “They must be the first point of attack in these anti-doping issues,” he emphasised. “If they have challenges, that is when they may contact BNOC. They have to take doping education seriously because is it the most important intervention; testing is just a regulatory measure.
“I understand the ministry responsible for sports, in conjunction with BNOC and Botswana National Sports Commission, will have a national conference on these matters. We have to avoid instances where athletes test positive for doping as it gives the country a bad reputation.”
Botswana had its first doping case in 2008. Since then athletes across different sporting codes – track athletics, football and rugby – have been caught on the wrong side, testing positive in both in and out-of-season tests.