… As guilty culprits face four-year ban, jail term
By John Tueriajama
THE Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) has revealed that it has been sending the urine samples of Namibian athletes to Belgium to be tested for banned substances, after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) revoked the accreditation of the South African Doping Control Laboratory in Bloemfontein.
WADA has also revoked the accreditation of the Anti-Doping Laboratory in Almaty, Kazakhstan, due to non-compliance with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) and its related technical documents.
Both laboratories were notified of the decision by the WADA executive committee on 29 June.
The revoking of their accreditation comes into effect within 30 days of notification, and in the meantime their suspensions remain applicable.
Both laboratories are ineligible to perform analysis of doping control samples for WADA or any other testing authority.
Asked what prompted the NNOC to discontinue sending doping samples to South Africa, NNOC President Abner Xoagub told Confidente that the South African laboratory is closed, and has had its WADA accreditation revoked.He added that samples had been taken from Namibian players, who had competed in the Indoor African Cup of Nations hockey tournament, which was held in Swakopmund last month, and that these had been sent to Belgium for testing. It takes two to weeks before the test results are returned to Namibia, he said. Athletes found guilty of using banned substances face a four-year ban and a possible three-year jail term.
Asked whether substance abuse is rife among Namibian athletes, Xoagub said, “We have one rugby player who tested positive in 2016 in Zimbabwe. The results were managed by the Zimbabwean Anti-Doping Organisation, and only the rugby management knows what happened to the athlete.
“Further, I can say the anti-doping education program is yielding positive results, as the management and coaches are cooperating very well.” Asked about the cost of sending samples to Belgium, Xoagub said that the price per test is U$1 000 or about N$13 400. “Most of the national federations do not have such resources, and we only test at international events, with the assistance of the international federations,” revealed Xoagub. Commenting on why WADA had revoked the licenses of the South African and Kazakhstan facilities, Xoagub said that all the laboratories must meet minimum standards, and the technicians must be suitably qualified and experienced.
He said that the two laboratories did not meet the requirements, and therefore have to work on these requirements and reapply.
“We can only make use of the laboratory in Bloemfontein once it is accredited and recommended by WADA.”
With Namibia having sent athletes to the IAAF Junior Under-18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya last week, the NNOC president said that they have made use of the out-of-competition testing facility of the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO), to test the athletes, because the payment was done by RADO.
“We have tested a limited number of athletes prior to the IAAF junior championships and the Commonwealth Youth Games in July and August,” Xoagub added.
Namibia, like the rest of the world, has experienced the sting of having its athletes performances questioned, because of allegations of the use of banned substances.
Among these athletes are former World Boxing Organisation (WBO) world champion Harry Simon and long distance runner Luketz Swartbooi, who in 2005 was publicly warned by the IAAF, after testing positive for prednisolone/prednisone.
Prednisolone is a steroid used to treat certain types of allergies, and is banned under WADA’s anti-doping rules.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015