Sunday 25 February 2018

'Don't make your child a chemical stockpile' - WADA chief warns Irish parents

World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman
World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman Newsdesk Newsdesk

World Anti-Doping Agency director general, David Howman, has told Irish parents to help their children to resist the temptation of doping and to realise their sporting aspirations as clean athletes.

Over the past year, sport has been rocked by the scandal in Russian athletics, reports suggesting that athletes were given 'large doses of illegal drugs' in the 1990s (denying Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan Olympic and world medals) and Maria Sharpova's positive test.

Only this week, a  Sunday Times report alleged Dr Mark Bonar , a Dublin native, claimed to have treated more than 150 sportsmen and women - including Premier League footballers, British Tour de France cyclists, tennis players and a British boxer - with banned substances including EPO, human growth hormone and steroids.

Howman, who is in Dublin for the launch of Irish Sports Council's annual anti-doping review, knows that the eyes of the world will be on this summer's Olympic Games in Rio and there is increased scepticism as to how clean sport is.

Speaking on Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One, he was asked if he had a message for Irish parents: "Maintain your commitment to your child who wants to realise their dreams but don't make them a chemical stockpile.

"Don't take the shortcuts that might be tempting to you to achieve fame, it's not worth it."

He also had some advice for the Irish Sports Council in the battle against doping in this country.

"The sporting authority here is the national ant-doping agency for this country. They are a signatory to the code and have to follow the rules we set down in the World Anti-Doping Agency. They do that," he added.

"It's a very good national  anti-doping agency and one with which we've had a lot of good times and experiences.

"I hope to learn from them and I think I've a few messages I can give to them.

"Stay on the same track but realise how far you can go, let's not overstate our position, let's nor think we're a sport policeman, let's look at how we can improve testing and how we can improve the gathering of information."

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