WADA Head Discusses Anti-Doping School Programme with Sports Minister


Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), David Howman, has expressed interest in working with Jamaica on an educational programme to combat doping in sports.
Mr. Howman was addressing the opening ceremony yesterday (January 14), of the Anti-Doping 2009 Symposium hosted by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
“My discussions yesterday with the Minister (of Information, Culture Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange) indicated that Jamaica was looking at ways and means of ensuring that there are components of sport and anti-doping within school curricula. We would love Jamaica to be one of the pilot countries with whom we can work in that regard because that is one of our objectives for 2009”, he informed, while stating that he had the utmost confidence in Jamaica’s anti-doping programme.
“We will be reporting to the board in May 2009 of who is now compliant under [our] code, which has been revised from the first of January this year. I am 99 per cent certain that Jamaica will have been compliant in terms of the rules and the procedures that you have put into place,” he pointed out.
“I also read the rules of the Jamaica Olympic Association and I’m sure also that those rules will be compliant. I am certain therefore that Jamaica in its normal style of leadership is leading the way in terms of code compliance. You have led the world just as you led the world in Beijing, China, last year,” he added.
He noted the level of scrutiny that Jamaica received from the international media at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in comparison to other countries.
“When you led the world in Beijing you came under some scrutiny from the international media and I was asked on many occasions what is Jamaica doing about testing its athletes, does it have a national programme in place, is it testing its athletes at home, if not, why not,” he recalled.
“I first answered and said it’s interesting that you are asking me these questions about some athletes who succeeded in Beijing but you’re not asking me the same questions about other athletes who’ve succeeded in Beijing,” he further recounted.
Having seen Jamaica’s Anti-Doping Programme, the Director General affirmed that he is ready to tell the rest of the world about what Jamaica is doing.
“Our job at WADA is to ensure that we properly advise the media of what is going on and I will now be in a position to go back home, deal with the media and say I’ve been to Jamaica, I’ve seen what is happening and I’m confident and pleased that Dr. Freeman (Executive Director, JADCO) has put things in place and that you’ll be doing everything that is possible to run a proper programme,” he enthused.
Mr. Howman also advised JADCO and local sporting bodies to develop new ways of gathering evidence of cheating and not to depend solely on science.
“Science does not provide the answers on all occasions and we do need to look at ways and means of getting evidence of how people are doing these things, evading detection and so on through the collection of evidence from other sources,” he stated.
In terms of developing new strategies and ways to catch cheats, he disclosed that “I am about to go to Europe in the coming weeks to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Interpol, which will allow the police forces of the world to exchange information in relation to the possession, distribution, and trafficking of prohibitive substances”.
The Director General also spoke to the issue of research and lamented the fact that WADA was not getting applications for research grants from the Caribbean region.
“We spend between 25 per cent and 30 per cent [of our budget] on research. Anybody in the world can apply for a research grant. We’re dying to get applications from this part of the world. We need some research into some of the things that you find important, that you might find controversial, that you do find objectionable,” he outlined.

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