The head of the IFMA Athletes Commission attended the first WADA Global Athlete Forum in Canada, along with over 100 athletes from 54 countries.
Under the theme ‘The sport we want’, the Forum saw athlete leaders and leading anti-doping experts discussing the current anti-doping system and stressing the importance of the athlete’s voice being further engaged in the decision making process.
Janice Lyn (Canada) represented muaythai athletes at the Forum on behalf of IFMA.
Protecting the rights of clean athletes is the WADA Athlete Committee’s highest priority. To that end, the Forum enabled further development of the Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights with the hope of including key principles within the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code.
Ms Lyn said: “ WADA education is obviously important for the protection of clean sport. We listened to the individual stories and realized how many athletes have been directly impacted by doping. WADA Athlete Committee Chair, Beckie Scott, saw her bronze medal change from bronze, to silver to gold over the course of a few years due to doping.”
Ms Scott said: “Meaningful change to protect clean sport can only be achieved with athletes standing together for a strengthened anti-doping system.”
The athletes heard from President of WADA Sir Craig Reedie and Olivier Niggli (WADA Director General) who said the recent breaches in the system and concerns have led to much needed change and reform in the system to bring more research and resources to program development, laboratory accreditation, education and science research.
The Forum heard from an athlete who took a substance on the Prohibited List due to lack of information about the substance, and was banned from his sport. This was very much in line with the topics covered at the recent Athletes Conference during the IFMA World Championships in Cancun as part of the IFMA Education program; which saw the participation of nearly 700 elite athletes from around 80 countries.
Ms Lyn said: “We learnt about WADA ’s Speak Up! Program through Gunter Younger, the Director of Intelligence and Investigations at WADA. In 2016, IFMA developed and launched its own very effective Intelligence Taskforce to determine candidates that fir the criteria for target testing. We learnt about clenbuterol contamination in meat in countries like China and Mexico. Highlighting athletes’ responsibility in being careful of what they put into their bodies and being diligent about knowing where their food and supplement companies are sourcing their ingredients from.”
Ms Lyn said the day gave her great insight into athletes’ right to clean and fair sport. The athletes present suggested amendments on the current draft of the Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights.
She said: “In the end all athletes have the right to clean and fair sport. Any elite athlete knows the value of training hard and the sacrifices made to be the very best version of themselves in the ring. Cheaters and corruption deflates the integrity and passion of true sport. Protect your passion.”
On behalf of all muaythai athletes Ms Lyn expressed gratitude to WADA, the WADA Athlete Committee, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport for hosting this historical event; and presented a special token of appreciation on behalf of all IFMA athletes to Sir Craig Reedie, President of WADA.
And she reminds all muaythai athletes to visit the WADA website and become familiar with the resources available. IFMA will continue its initiatives in the areas of supporting Fair Play on all levels.