Athletes could soon be tested for drugs using hair samples, says incoming president of the World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) Sir Craig Reedie. But it might be some time yet before Barbados’ testing agency, the National Anti-Doping Commission (NADC), heads in that direction.
Reedie, a Briton, yesterday revealed that a £6m fund from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could lead to new testing techniques to catch cheats. Currently athletes are tested using blood and urine samples.
But NADC chairman Dr Adrian Lorde told Barbados TODAY that the island’s current method of catching perpetrators was working just fine.
Furthermore, Lorde said he did not believe that the hair testing process would be as efficient as blood and urine testing. And what’s more in the case of NADC, he said “don’t expect to have hair follicle testing in Barbados anytime soon” mainly because the country did not have doping officers trained in hair follicle collections or the capacity to do analysis of hair follicles.
Dr Lorde, however, said what his body would pursue in 2014 was more educational and awareness programmes, in addition to the continued push for Government to implement anti-doping legislation. With the adoption of anti-doping legislation, he said he believed it would give his commission more “teeth” to show their authority.
“We have a commission in place so we are compliant but we have to remain compliant by instituting changes to our rules and our regulations in 2014. We have had discussions with the Ministry of Sports, to have legislation in place within the next 12 months – regarding anti-doping, which would give the national anti-doping commission more teeth and we can then better cooperate with other agencies in Barbados to fight doping,” Lorde said.
He added: “Right now in Barbados anti-doping is done by persons who are doing other jobs as a part-time thing, so we need to have a formal office and officers in place to do that. We have it for the Regional Anti- Doping Organization but for the Barbados and all the other countries we need to have our own national office set up so that we can implement the new world anti- doping code which comes into effect January 1, 2015.
“What WADA has been shifting to is non-analytical testing in other words not only the detection of drug in the urine or blood … but things like trafficking, possession and association with persons whose drug or who have used drugs – not only the athletes but their support personnel, coaches trainers other such persons. We are hoping that we will be able to go towards that line because education and investigation is now part of the whole process [the International Standard of Testing and Investigation] we need now to have the human resources to do investigative work in cases where we have found or suspect athletes to use these substances or methods.”
Lorde, who is also the chairman of Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization assured that the quality of testing in Barbados was “Olympic style”.