Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) is working around the clock to sensitise Batswana and the athletes on the dangers doping following icon runner Amantle Montsho’s doping case last year. The committee is undertaking random check-ups on players either at the games or even follow them to their homes.
Doping is considered to be the use of unnatural means to alter the body biochemistry with the intention to achieve physiological and physical advantage in sport. It can also be defined as refusing or failing without compelling justifications to submit for sample collection, failure to provide whereabouts information, possession of any banned substance and even an attempt to administer banned or prohibited substance to the athlete.
An anti-doping officer at BNOC Modise Mgadla said only two cases that have been recorded in Botswana so far. He said from their interactions with the public they have discovered that some people are misinformed, while others have knowledge on the issue.
“We are going to continue with our efforts to educate the athletes at every opportunity that we get. There have been numerous education campaigns especially at sporting events and schools, and more are lined up,” Mgadla said.
He said that in the two cases that they have recorded; the substances that were found were methylhexanamine (dimethylpetalymine) is in energy drinks and supplements. He said it is only in countries where substances like marijuana are legal that an athlete can be exempted through the Therapeutic use Exemption (TUE) for legitimate medical use.
One of the local elite athletes Pako Seribe acknowledged that doping issues are very serious, saying that those are concerns that they are very much aware of as athletes. He said that when the season starts, they are obliged to report about their whereabouts all the time.
“We normally receive calls where someone would just ask you where you are and you would tell them and they will just come and see you. They never tell that they are from BNOC, so it is always scary,” Seribe said.
He recalled of a recent encounter where they just came to their training ground when him and Isaac Makwala were ordered to test. They panicked but later obliged to do the tests. He said as elite athletes they are very aware of which substances to take and which ones not to take because their careers come first. Seribe confirmed that BNOC have been doing a lot in order to make sure that as athletes they understand doping. The local elite athletes are preparing hard for the international competitions that they will have this year and mostly as they look forward to Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.