Anti-Doping in Sport Takes Centre Stage

The sporting community and in particular young athletes are becoming more vulnerable to the trend of enhancing their performance at any cost and using prohibited substances to do so. Within the framework of the International Convention Against Doping in Sports and according to the principles of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, a major education campaign will be implemented which aims at raising awareness of the core elements of anti-doping: these include the rights and obligations of athletes; awareness with regards prohibited substances and methods – the dangers and consequences associated with their use; and the doping control procedures and risks.

The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture and the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) successfully applied for and secured a US$19 000.00 grant from UNESCO to undertake anti-doping education and awareness activities. The programme will be implemented through the (ZOC) who are the current custodians of all national anti-doping activities as defined by the WADA. The programme aims to train a minimum of 50 education and awareness officers to cover sport disciplines throughout the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe: it will also target athletes and officials participating at the 2014 African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under 20 Games as well as those who will participate in major Games in 2015, namely the Zimbabwe National Youth Games and the 2015 Africa Games (formerly All Africa Games). There will be ongoing national educational workshops as well as train the trainers’ initiatives during the programme’s implementation phase.

The main objectives of the programme are:

1) To provide core information on anti-doping

2) To contribute to increased levels of awareness on anti-doping in Zimbabwe and to instill the values of sport and promote a drug-free culture amongst young athletes

3) To contribute to the development of anti-doping awareness and understanding of coaches, managers and medical personnel in order to support future and complementary actions to strengthen Zimbabwe`s Anti-Doping Programme

4) To contribute to increased levels of awareness on anti-doping in Zimbabwe and the Region 5 specifically focused on young athletes and the wider audience attending the events

In a related and positive development, Zimbabwe will host the 2014 Regional Anti-Doping Organization (RADO) Board Meeting from November 22-23. The assembly is held annually and, in line with the (RADO) rotational policy for meetings, the 2014 session was confirmed for Victoria Falls. It will bring together 11 regional board members and 2 delegates from WADA. The Government of Zimbabwe will be represented by senior officials as well as Dr. Nicholas Munyonga who is the RADO Board Vice-Chairman