The British Athletes’ Commission has called for a harder line on missed drug tests, suggesting a system of fines similar to driving offences.
At BAC’s annual conference in Glasgow earlier this month, the competitors present took an extremely hard line on the issue, and suggested that not only was it fair, but that more should be done the first time an athlete misses a test to make them aware of the seriousness of the situation.
The issue was discussed against the backdrop of the suspension of Christine Ohuruogu, the Commonwealth Games 400m gold medallist, who had missed three out-of-competition drug test appointments within an 18-month period. It had also emerged that Ohuruogu, who faces a possible life ban from Britain’s Olympic teams, was not alone: more than 70 of Britain’s track and field athletes had missed at least one such test appointment.
But the BAC conference was critical of inconsistencies in the World Anti-Doping code, the key one being that international federations can set their own sanctions for three missed tests, leading to huge discrepancies between sports.
BAC has been tasked by competitors to mobilise international support among the athlete community to ensure that when the WADA code is reviewed early next year, it looks at standardising whereabouts information procedures and penalties for doping offences across all sports.
In all, competitors from 40 sports, including summer and winter Olympic, Paralympic and World Class-funded, were represented at BAC’s conference.
BAC has been launched with a range of benefits and services, including a pension scheme specifically to cater for elite athletes in Britain.
At the meeting, elections were held for the BAC executive committee. Those elected were: Kate Allenby (modern pentathlon) chair; Karen Pickering (swimming) vice-chair and Olympic director; Karen Roberts (judo) world class director; Giles Long (swimming) paralympic director; Leon Taylor (diving); Adam Pengilly (skeleton); Heather Monro (orienteering); Tasha Danvers-Smith (athletics).
BAC could be a useful source for sports journalists, as it has access to all elite athletes from across the spectrum and can quickly and effectively gather opinion on any subject that affects elite athletes.
For more information on BAC, contact Pete Gardner, BAC chief executive, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07861 231035.