Many local athletes are not aware of doping, a situation that may lead them into using banned substances unknowingly thereby risking punishments, Malawi Anti-Doping Organization (Mado) has said.
The organization has unveiled plans to step up nationwide anti-doping awareness in a bid to tackle the malpractice which has dented a lot of sporting disciplines worldwide such as athletics and cycling.
Mado chairperson James Mwenda said this at a news conference in Blantyre on Friday, which was held after the organization’s board meeting.
“What we have noted is that most athletes are not aware of doping. Our fear is that they may end up using drugs or other substances that are banned. This may put them in trouble,” he said.
According to the World Anti-doping Agency (Wada), doping refers to taking of illegal substances to improve performances.
The most common doping drugs are stimulants and hormones.
Mwenda said they will place adverts on radios, television and newspapers printed in vernacular languages and English.
“We don’t want the athletes to blame us if they are banned for doping. This is why very soon we will embark on this awareness initiative,” he said.
Mwenda further said the country has the capacity to combat doping because it has well trained personal to initiate testing.
“We have well training experts like doping control officers, who help in carrying out tests. So we believe we have what it takes to detect any cases of doping,” he said.
Meanwhile, since 2013, Mado says it has tested 15 athletes from various sporting disciplines including football and boxing.
Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) sports development officer Ruth Mzengo, who also sits on the Wado board, said although they have not received the results of the tests, she was optimistic that nobody failed the test.
“We collect urine sample and send to a Wada accredited laboratory in South Africa. We have not received the results yet but we believe that if there was a problem with one of our athletes, they could have alerted us,” she said.
Malawi Anti-doping was formed in 2013 and it is responsible for testing athletes in- and out-of-competition.