Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Drug cheats beware!

IT’S WAR: Malaysia hopes to regain WADA accreditation in fight against out this menace

AN all-out war against doping in sports can only be sustained if Malaysia is  given the artillery to do so. And paramount to the mission  is the return of the "authority"  to test for banned substances locally.

Anti-Doping Agency of Malaysia (ADAMAS) chairman Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz said efforts are underway towards regaining World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accreditation for Malaysia's own test lab.

The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) lab in Penang lost its WADA accreditation on a technicality in 2011, but the availability of such a lab locally is vital to the nation.
"We are being limited by the amount of testing that we can do because we need to send samples overseas for testing at the moment," said Dr Ramlan.

"Although our efforts are ongoing, there are athletes who know about these limitations and the situation can be exploited."

Dr Ramlan said a joint effort involving the Sports Ministry and USM is underway to regain the accreditation status with renewed standards of testing to be implemented, including tests on blood samples apart from urine.

In admitting that the widespread and uncontrolled availability of performance enhancing drugs locally is a worrying development, Dr Ramlan said legislative efforts are also being studied.
"But before we start calling for new laws to be drawn up, I would reserve my opinions on this until we have thoroughly studied existing laws," said Dr Ramlan.

"There may be laws that already exist that we could use. But we haven't concluded our studies yet, so it would be premature to say we don't have laws to curb doping in sport."

Despite ADAMAS' s efforts, it is clear that most local administrators do not view doping as a serious threat to the integrity and purity of sports, which could prove to be a stumbling block in the establishment of laws and enforcement.

ADAMAS has already added a new element to its structure in the form of an investigative unit which would get to the root of doping cases beyond the sanctions imposed on athletes who test positive.
"Previously, a positive doping case results in a ban and it is left at that. We now have a unit who will go deeper, conduct interviews and investigate further," said Dr Ramlan.

A first round-table meeting involving ADAMAS, the police, the home ministry, health ministry, National Anti-Drugs Agency, Customs and other bodies will be held on Friday.
Subsequent efforts, said Dr Ramlan, would be geared towards curbing the import, distribution and spread of performance enhancing drugs.


By ARNAZ M. KHAIRUL | arnaz@nst.com.my

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