On Target
December 10, 2010
Save the indignity now

National sporting associations here need to get in line, and have their members, especially those who have national representation status, tested regularly for banned substances.{{more}}

Already, such a facility is available free of cost to all concerned. However, many do not see the importance of drug testing, hence the practice is almost non-existent here.

The local sports medicine association and the Vincentian arm of the Regional Anti Doping Association (RADA) are the ones who are vested with the responsibility of keeping a watchful eye.

Associations must be reminded that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has signed on to the World Anti Doping Association (WADA) protocol. We, therefore, must keep in line in this regard.

They must also be reminded that members of national teams are tested free of cost.

We must also be reminded that our players can be called upon randomly to be tested in and out of competition.

Failure to comply, or if incorrect information is given, may also be deemed as a guilt.

While we have not suffered much in terms of being disgraced by our national sportsmen or women in terms of testing positive for banned substances, the thought cannot be overlooked or disregarded totally.

National US based sprinter Natasha Mayers, and by extension St. Vincent and the Grenadines, found out the hard way when she was banned by the International Olympic Committee in 2005 for having an over the limit illegal substance in her system.

One national bodybuilder was reportedly suspended for a similar offence after competing in a regional championship.

Also a national footballer was found with a trace of cocaine in his system two years ago and was ruled out of national representation.

He followed other prominent national footballers who tested positive for marijuana use some years ago.

Two years ago, regional cricketers Xavier Marshall and Tonito Willett tested positive during the lead up to the lucrative Stanford US$20 Million 20/20 match. By their actions, they ruled themselves out from becoming millionaires overnight.

Locally, let us face reality. Many sportsmen are smokers of marijuana. They partake of that substance mainly for recreational purposes.

But whilst it may be cultural and hard to stamp out, what an embarrassing price we must pay if we continue to allow the status quo to reign.

Should we continue to supply our players with tablets to flush out their systems days before they enter regional competitions and say they are clean from banned substances?

Maybe that sort of purging could be the cause of some of our teams’ poor performances when they venture beyond the borders of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Or is it that we believe that we cannot have drug free teams?

Many of our sportsmen, especially our footballers, have their eyes set on playing professionally outside of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but are they willing to give up their social habits for the greater good of their pockets?

Does the current Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation have the will to establish such a protocol for players to be free from all substances which are injurious to their health?

Marijuana has been scientifically proven to hinder performance in higher energy sports and slightly relax judgment for some.

Whilst marijuana is not an enhancing drug, the social use as proclaimed by our players can affect them on the field of play in accordance with research.

Among the downsides that have been cited are the impairment of skills requiring eye-hand coordination and a fast reaction time, the reduction of motor coordination, tracking ability and perceptual accuracy. Additionally, it impairs concentration, and time appears to move more slowly, while skill impairment may last up to 24 to 36 hours after usage and reduces maximal exercise capacity, resulting in increased fatiguability.

So, the ball is in the court of the national associations to save us from the indignity now!

The same can be said of the “Mound” which continues to exist at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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