THE World Boxing Council, under its president Mauricio Sulaiman, must be commended for the lead role it has played in exposing the ills of performance-enhancing drugs and inspiring the International Olympic Committee to take action against cheats.
The WBC, some months ago, joined forces with VADA, the Voluntary Anti Doping Agency under the renowned Dr. Margaret Goodman to initiate what President Mauricio Sulaiman labeled as the WBC Clean Boxing Program.
The program was first proposed by the late WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman and his son and current president Mauricio Sulaiman has pursued the program, which he says “will be another WBC dream come true.”
“Along with the invaluable support and tireless efforts of VADA and President Dr. Margaret Goodman, the program will start with the premier world boxing organization’s participation in the testing/funding for the upcoming title clash for the vacant Super Lightweight World Championship between Viktor Postol of the Ukraine and Lucas Matthysse of Argentina scheduled on Oct. 3,” the WBC said.
It added: “While it is true the WBC-VADA program is quite ambitious, its main goal aside from testing is to educate the athletes on the danger and disadvantages that doping can bring to their present and future wellbeing, along with the penalties in testing positive for prohibited substances, in or out of competition. It is its firm position to become a bastion of a drug free boxing profession.”
It’s obvious that the innovative program, which we hope other professional world boxing organizations such as the WBO, WBA and IBF will adopt has, as the WBC says, “planned, designed and developed with countless hours of hard work and dedication of many passionate members of the WBC and VADA.”
It is basically divided in 3 primary objectives :
Awareness program to educate and prevent boxers about the dangers of substances and the tragic effects that they can lead to. This is done by tutorials, webinars, forums, materials, etc.
-Out of competition Random testing
-Voluntary enrollment by fighters.
Sulaiman said the WBC and VADA will be “continuously reporting progress of this historic venture and we are certain that the boxing community at large will endorse and participate to achieve the main goal, which is to protect our athletes and our sport.”
The news was welcomed in Manila by the leading promotional outfit—ALA Promotions—with president Michael Aldeguer saying “It’s fantastic.”
But regrettably, we still have to hear from other promoters although it would be the responsibility primarily of managers, trainers and boxers themselves.
Meantime, the International Olympic Committee has awakened to the insidious threat posed by some countries that engage in doping as a matter of state policy.
The IOC now says a special World Anti-Doping Agency task force will identify athletes, who should be targeted for drug-testing ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to deter and weed out any cheats before they get to the games.
The IOC also confirmed, as reported by The Associated Press last week, that hundreds of doping samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Games are currently being re-analyzed with enhanced tests before Rio to catch any athletes who escaped detection at the time.
The International Olympic Committee said a WADA task force is gathering information and intelligence, identifying any gaps in pre-games testing and coordinating extra doping checks in the lead-up to the Rio Games in August.
The task force “will identify athletes or groups of athletes who should be included in registered testing pools, and those who the IOC should test during the four-week period” of the Olympics.
The WADA group will work with national anti-doping agencies of Australia, Denmark, Japan, South Africa, Britain and the United States.
The task force will advise the IOC and Rio organizers who should be tested, both in and out of competition. The intelligence will be used to finalize the day-by-day testing plan during the period of the games, which begins with the opening of the athletes village on July 24.
IOC medical director Dr. Richard Budgett said: “We are trying passionately to protect those clean athletes who are going to Rio and the best way to do that is to catch the cheats and deter the cheats before we get to Rio de Janeiro.”
The twin actions by the WBC and the IOC are to be commended and given the full support of the world’s sporting fraternity