29 Dec 2014 – A new World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) will come into effect from 1 January 2015, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has just published an Athlete Reference Guide to the new code.
"It is important for curlers to understand that this affects them just as it does other top-level athletes," said Darren Carson, convenor of selectors for New Zealand Curling.
"We know our athletes respect both the spirit of curling and their own well-being," he continued. "But the new code essentially says ignorance is no excuse, and inadvertent breaches will also be dealt with strictly."
"Curlers must know that dietary supplements, pre-workout supplements and over-the-counter medications are potential risks – and of course it's well-known that recreational drug use will also fall foul of the regulations."
"The implications of any breach are not just serious for the individual, but also for their team."
"New Zealand curlers have been drug-tested in the past, and it's inevitable that the same will happen again."
Drug Free Sport NZ
The chief executive of Drug Free Sport New Zealand, Graeme Steel, welcomes the changes which will help to better protect clean athletes.
"These new rules are powerful and far-reaching and will ensure that those who set out to cheat are removed from participating in sport for longer periods.
"New Zealand has proud tradition of clean sport and Drug Free Sport NZ works hard to ensure that tradition is maintained and continued. We believe these new rules are a significant step forward in the fight against doping in sport," Mr Steel says.
Key changes introduced as a result of the new World Anti-Doping Code include:
- longer bans of up to four years for a first offence for those who dope intentionally
- penalties for athletes who associate with anyone who has previously committed a doping offence
- sanctions for those who help to cover-up doping
- an extension of the anti-doping rules to cover athlete support personnel.
"The introduction of longer bans sends a clear message to athletes that intentional doping will not be tolerated. Bans of this length could effectively end an athlete's sporting career so they take a huge risk if they choose to dope," Mr Steel says.
He adds that those who support athletes will also need to be aware of the rule changes because they are now bound more clearly by the anti-doping rules and can face penalties if they break the rules.
"It's vital that everyone involved in sport is committed to being drug free and this includes those supporting athletes like coaches, trainers, physiotherapists etc. There's no level playing field if we don't have everyone on board and following the rules," Mr Steel says.
Other changes that have been introduced include a greater focus on investigations and intelligence to identify doping and target testing.
"In the future, the fight against doping will increasingly be about intelligence gathering, investigation and targeted testing. This intelligence-led approach will make it easier to catch the real cheats and protect all those competing cleanly and fairly," Mr Steel says.
Drug Free Sport NZ is keen for the code to be supported by all levels of athlete – not just national and international level athletes, but also regular club members and social players in club competitions.
Athlete Reference Guide
The guide, which will act as a crucial point of reference for all athletes looking to enhance their knowledge of the Code, has been championed by members of the WADA Athlete Committee throughout the course of 2013 and 2014.
The WADA Athlete Committee, whose job it is to represent the views and rights of athletes worldwide, have led and directed the project in time for the introduction of the revised Code at the start of 2015. The document – which is purely a guide, and will not supersede the Code itself – will help athletes the world over better understand the anti-doping framework, rules and regulations.
The guide provides an explanation of athlete's roles and responsibilities, details of what constitutes an anti-doping rule violation, information on the Prohibited List and supplements, and details on matters ranging from the 'Whereabouts' rule to Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) amongst other topics.
WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said, "Long in the making, the Athlete Reference Guide to the 2015 Code marks a significant step forward to ensuring that all athletes, no matter what sport they play or which country they come from, understand their anti-doping rights and responsibilities."
"Many of the more technical aspects of the Code can be difficult to understand and, whilst the code itself is still the legal document that athletes are held accountable to, this reference guide will help individuals better understand many crucial areas of anti-doping, from supplements to doping control, and the prohibited list to new terms such as 'prohibited association'," he added.
WADA Athlete Committee Chair Beckie Scott said, "The WADA Athlete Committee members really championed, and provided the backbone to this guide. To me, it was crucial from the beginning that it would be a guide by athletes for athletes."
"Anti-Doping can be a taxing matter for many of us, and what this guide does is help shed light on some of the more tricky subjects within anti-doping. Through its improved rules, the revised code is going to offer a real boost to the clean sport movement when it arrives in three months time. I am delighted that we now have this athlete guide to accompany the Code, and I look forward to helping promote its use in the months and years ahead," she added.