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17.06.2005 Sports News

ANOCA to step up fight against doping


Accra, June 17, GNA - The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) has vowed to step up its fight against doping on the continent in order to make her athletes drugs free. As a result, ANOCA has decided to embark on series of conferences in all member countries to educate young athletes on the dangers of doping as well as its relative consequences.

Professor Roux Constant, President of the Medical Commission of ANOCA disclosed this to the GNA Sports in an interview after the opening of the 11th General Meeting of ANOCA at the International Conference Centre, in Accra on Friday. Professor Constant said that each member country has also been tasked to create departments for medicine in their respective National Olympic Committees (NOC) to see to the local needs of the various committees on drug related issues so as to continue with the education of the youth even after the conferences. He said ANOCA is also working with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to increase the number of laboratories who have the facilities and the expertise to conducts test on athletes for drugs on the continent as a way of checking the canker.

The President who doubles as a member of the IOC Medical Commission said the low number of accredited laboratories in the continent is also hampering their efforts in checking doping on the continent. In Africa, only South Africa and Tunisia are among the 28 countries in the world that the have laboratories that conduct doping tests. He said this is due to the high cost involved in the establishment of such laboratories, but said ANOCA as a first step is increasing the number on the continent and is seeking the support of the IOC to give accreditation to some laboratories and universities in some African countries to carry out the doping tests.

Prof. Constant conceded that the process is a cumbersome one but that the Commission will do everything within its power to succeed. He announced that his native country, Cote d' Ivoire is in the process of establishing such a centre for the sub-region, but will have to fulfil a lot of requirements and also find ways of securing two billion CFA to fund the project. "Though the process is a long one and the funds involved is huge, we are determined to establish it and we will go to all lengths to realise our objective", the Professor added.

Prof. Constant said the problems of doping among athletes is causing devastating effects to the African athlete and there is the need for all to join hands to fight against it.

President John Agyekum Kufuor also stressed against doping in his speech during the opening of the meeting, saying Ghana shares the policy of 'zero tolerance for doping' in sports. He said that, "combating doping is not only a matter of ethics but public health and a major global issue". According to the Ghanaian President, using drugs to achieve laurels undermines the noble values of sports in general and the Olympic spirit in particular. "A true athlete is the one who performs on his God-given talent" President Kufuor noted.