PRESIDENTS of TT sporting bodies are supporting the decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to ban Russia for four years from major international sporting events, saying a strong message had to be sent to athletes.
The four-year ban was delivered after Russia failed to comply with drug testing rules. The lengthy ban means Russia will not compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
President of the TT Football Association (TTFA) William Wallace agreed with WADA’s decision. “Definitely I support action like that. I think we have to try to maintain a level playing field for those persons who are working hard to get better at (their) sport. There should not be a disadvantage for persons who are using enhancement drugs, so I totally support that ban.”
Wallace said clean Russian athletes will pay the price. “It is unfortunate that there are persons who would not have been guilty, but are now affected by this. It means that various associations must play a greater role of treating with their athletes and try their due diligence as far as their athletes are concerned.”
Wallace, who was only elected as the TTFA president two weeks ago, said the local football body will try to revamp its drug policies going forward. “I think that signals at least that association’s must play a greater role, so I think that it is something that we would need to pay closer attention to as we go forward.”
President of the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) Ephraim Serrette discussing the Russia ban, said, “It is harsh, but I guess they are sending a message to all the countries where the use of drugs in sport is concerned.”
The NAAA president said people in Russia may be turned away from sport and sports may die especially in the case of sports such as football where it will be difficult to compete as a neutral.
A total of 168 Russian athletes were allowed to compete under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics after the country was banned following the 2014 Games.
Serrette said TT track and field athletes are tested. “Under the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations), besides WADA, they have the Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) in TT. Just this past year we were mandated to have both in and out of competition testing and we had to do at least 75 in and out of competition testing. They were here and would have conducted those tests here...so it is something that they are doing much more regularly than in the past.” The AIU was formed in 2017 to fight doping in track and field.
Serrette said through the TT Olympic Committee they tests national athletes at the annual National Open Senior Championships.