The prevailing Coronavirus (COVID-19) does not exempt athletes from updating drug-testing officials as to their whereabouts.
In fact, national athletes are being encouraged to give an update on their whereabouts even during possible quarantine for COVID-19.
That advice has come from Dr. Adrian Lorde, vice-chairman of the Regional Anti-doping Organisation (RADO) who said that failing to do so even during the pandemic was still an anti-doping rule violation.
Lorde explained that athletes were expected to either train or compete especially at Olympic qualifying meets. But since COVID-19 had caused the postponement and cancellation of everything globally, athletes whether at home or elsewhere needed to state where they were at all times.
During this quarantine time the athletes have been encouraged by Lorde to use apps – ADAMS or Athlete Central – that are available to state their whereabouts.
“Most of our countries are on lockdown so there won’t be testing in any of those countries. What RADO has been doing is asking the athletes to make sure that their whereabouts information is updated. Because some of them may have expected to be entered in competition or training somewhere in the world and that is no longer so.
“The international athletes would have to give that (whereabouts) to their international federation rather than RADO. Barbados, Trinidad, Kittitian-based athletes would give it to the RADO but the international ones like Mario Burke or Chelsea Tuach, for example, they would have to give it to their international federation who would then copy it to us,” Lorde said.
He added: “So the important thing is stating the whereabouts and they should maintain some form of physical activity as much as they can and engage in other capacity-building exercises. Not necessarily physical but mental training and get ready for when this is over.”
Lorde said that while it was not advisable for an athlete to take any prohibited drug during this time if they caught COVID-19, he suggested that if they decided to digest any medication that they apply through RADO for a therapeutic-use exemption, so that when testing does resume they would be exempted.
“An athlete can take whatever medication that is prescribed for them by a medical doctor once it’s a prohibited alternative or any medication in an emergency situation, and then apply for retroactive therapeutic exemption. So they should not refuse any medication but they need to notify RADO or NADO (National Anti-doping Organisation) after.
“If any of them do contract the COVID-19 virus they need to make sure that if they are given any drugs that are on the prohibited list, that the exemption is applied for.
“In case they are given any drugs on the prohibited list they need to inform their nearest anti-doping organisation or RADO of their condition and hospitalisation or isolation if necessary. And also apply for a therapeutic use exemption, so that when testing does resume, any drugs that they may have taken would have been approved by the testing used exemption of the RADO or the anti-doping commission to which they are affiliated,” Lorde maintained.
While there are international athletes that have contracted COVID-19, Lorde reassured that there were no cases so far in the Caribbean.
The reputable doctor also noted that when this was all over, RADO would continue to keep up practices such as good hygiene and physical distancing.
“When we resume testing, the RADO will engage in physical distancing and proper hygiene techniques such as washing their hands before, during and after the procedure. Also maintaining physical distance and wearing necessary protective equipment which would involve gloves and masks.
“In the doping control station, special arrangements would be made so that they (athletes) are not within close distance to the doping control officers. We still have to abide by the world anti-doping code that is not suspended and the international standard for testing. So we will modify those wherever possible but we will abide by those codes,” Lorde said.