Barbados, the first small state to host an international anti-doping convention, is reaffirming its commitment to fair and true sport.
The country is hosting the UNESCO Anti-doping Convention meeting and the Seventh Formal Meeting of the Approval Committee for the Elimination of Doping in Sport.
During the meetings held at Hilton Barbados Resort in Needham’s Point, St Michael on Wednesday, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sport, Charlie Brown said it was important for the island to renew its determination to safeguard the integrity of sports and uphold the spirit of fair play.
He was speaking on behalf of Minister Charles Griffith who was unable to attend the proceedings.
“Barbados has always recognised the principles of fair play, the promotion of health and well-being and education in sports and has been at the forefront in the region in the promotion and elimination of doping in sports. Barbados was the first English-speaking country to form a national anti-doping organisation in March 2000. We also trained a large number of doping control officers and promoted anti-doping education within schools and national sport federations,” Brown said.
“Our Barbadian athletes and support personnel must feel confident and assured that when they are on the start line, that they are competing fairly against other competitors and that victory is gained through hard work and determination. It is a value that we as a country will always promote. It is also imperative that we continually strengthen our anti-doping programmes to stay ahead of evolving doping practices . . .
“The roundtable with stakeholders in the Caribbean to address the current challenges and issues, faced by the region, regarding the protection of sport values, ethics and integrity . . . is further recognition that Barbados and the region are serious about what matters in sport,” he added.
Director of sports at the National Sports Council, Neil Murrell said doping in sport was highly discouraged because “it creates a stain on the country. It creates a stain on the athletes and it creates a stain on their families and their athlete support personnel”.
Murrell added that it was important that countries participate in international anti-doping conventions so they could access a voluntary fund to implement special projects. These projects, he said, could be policy based or focused on educational programmes, which will help athletes and other stakeholders in sport understand the dos and don’ts as it relates to doping.
This is the first time a small developing state has ever hosted these international meetings. (SZB)