The use of performance enhancing drugs in a number of sports is under the spotlight particularly cycling. It seems that there is still some way to go with a range of investigations internationally and in Australia including the Cycling Investigation opened by ASADA (the Australian Sport Anti-Doping Authority) last week.
There is also an Inquiry into Cycling Australia announced recently that will be headed by retired judge James Wood. It will look into the integrity of governance arrangements and anti-doping policies and practices.
This affects every one of us at Club level in some way – whether it be the conduct of those who are competing, the leadership shown by the committee, coaches and others involved in running the club, members and the parents and guardians of juniors.
Please take the time to read this information and keep it for future reference.
Every member of DHBC is bound by Cycling Australia’s Anti-Doping policy
"Cycling Australia promotes zero-tolerance to doping in sport.”
The Anti-Doping Policy sets out the responsibilities for athletes and support persons including the key one: that they will know the policies and procedures that apply to them and take responsibility for any substance they may ingest. This includes being aware of what are banned substances; participate in any doping controls that apply to them or the athletes they are supporting.
Ignorance is no defense. It’s not good enough to say, “I didn’t know it was a banned substance.”
Find out what’s banned and what’s OK
ASADA has a website that allows you to check your substances and print out a time-stamped certificate.
If you are on any medication - e.g. asthma medication that is banned you must request and receive a Therapeutic Use Exemption BEFORE you race.
But I’ll never get tested …
Don’t bet on it. If you are racing at any sanctioned race ASADA are out and about at events in all states. They won’t be at all events, but you won’t know when they will turn up. And if you are required for a test, you have already agreed to comply when you became a member.
It doesn’t matter what grade you ride in because they can test all of them. The reality of our sport is that there are a mix of people in most grades – older riders who have come down the grades, those who have reached their limit and juniors who may be on their way up. All of those riders are of interest to ASADA, not just Elite riders.
And something to ponder on
Doping is not just confined to professional ranks – don’t assume it doesn’t rear its ugly head at club level. Although not from Australia, this tale from a club level racer who turned to drugs to get better results provides some insight into what is going through someone’s head when they decide to cross the line.
What about juniors?
Juniors are the future of our sport and it’s in all our interests to ensure they grow up in the sport with the right attitude to performance and anti-doping policies. The Club and its officials have a responsibility to abide by the rules of Cycling Australia in all aspects, not just anti doping.
The most important people for juniors are parents. You spend most time with them and can influence their choices. In my day job I work for Mission Australia and every year we do a large Youth Survey. In 2011 75% of young people told us they would go to their parents for advice on serious issues, including drugs. Rarely would they go to other sources of advice in the community or school (however they would go to their friends for advice – not always the best informed source).
Parents have a role to play in the development of values and ethics adopted by their own children and how to handle social challenges such as sex, drugs and alcohol. For young people engaged in a sport like cycling particularly when it becomes competitive, they need to be assisted to report any exposure they may come across of ‘doping’ being offered or occurring.
It is critical that parents have explicit conversations with any coaches or support people involved with their young person about Anti-Doping policies and your expectations about how juniors will be treated more broadly. While they are bound by the Cycling Australia policies too, you need to ensure you have a common understanding.
If you suspect doping
You can go to ASADA via their hotline 1300ASADA/1300027232 or the ASADA website Stamp Out Doping page This is a confidential and anonymous option to forward material to ASADA.
ASADA has also asked cyclists who have any information about doping, or who may have doped themselves, to come forward. You might have seen the story on ABC 7.30 including an interview with Martin Vinnicombe recently.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me or a member of the Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club Committee.
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