by Professor Miran Kondrič, Chair ITTF Sport Science and Medical Committee
Over the three days more than 740 representatives from international federations, national and regional anti-doping organizations plus major event organizers, governments, laboratories, athletes and the media had the chance to exchange and share experiences.
Lessons learned from a turbulent 2016 for the entire anti-doping community were considered with ways to move forward discussed. The itinerary included plenary sessions on latest developments; investigating and encouraging whistleblowing, combined with practical workshops on ongoing anti-doping work and code compliance processes.
The International Table Tennis Federation used the opportunity to present activities currently being undertaken to promote a drug-free sport.
Significantly, Zoran Primorac joined WADA Athletes Commission members and led a workshop group session entitled: Engaging Athletes in the Anti-Doping Process. The theme of the gathering was the importance of expanding athletes’ influence in the development of their sports. Not only rights issues were stressed; also the necessary duties of athletes were highlighted.
It has been often been suggested that athletes and coaches need more education and international federations should not only pay attention to anti-doping; also to prevention and other negative influences that may appear.
“I was impressed by my colleagues in WADA Athletes Commission and chair Becky Scott for their passion and commitment to fight for clean sport. I was honoured to be a part of athletes’ workshop and I learned a lot. The younger that athletes start getting educated to the entire process through clean sport education is better. I strongly believe that we can win this fight against doping and future generations will have chance to compete in fair conditions”, Zoran Primorac
A major contribution from Zoran Primorac, it was the same from Françoise Dagouret. She presented the ITTF Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) policy; a workshop which also involved contributions from the International Paralympic Committee and the Canadian Center from Ethics in Sports. A round table debate concluded the session.
“This workshop was a very useful platform to outline the best practices and necessary co-ordination with our colleagues from other Anti-Doping Organizations. The ITTF commits to pursue its continuous and open collaboration with all its partners in order to keep table tennis a sport free of doping”, Françoise Dagouret.
Pertinently, additional workshops, affording participants to discuss topics in small groups were organized.
Involving a wide range of organizations, including international federations, national anti-doping organisations (NADO), major event organisers and governmental bodies, discussions were extensive.
The agenda included: building a strong doping risk assessment and testing programme, whilst improving educational projects through social science research and science research. Additionally fostering collaboration between national anti-doping organisations and laboratories plus stimulating partnerships between governments and sport was included on the extensive agenda.
“Even though table tennis is a less risk sport, we need to stay informed on current situations in the anti-doping fight. During those three days we have had great networking with other international federations, NADO’s, WADA staff and others involved in this symposium. Year 2016 was very turbulent regarding anti-doping activities. Fortunately table tennis has never been in negative headlines. Let’s keep this way also in the future”, Professor Miran Kondrič.
Valuable discussions, various workshops but most importantly the exchange of thoughts and ideas enables a network to be set up and that facilitates a greater dissemination of knowledge gathered.
Now eyes focus on Düsseldorf, the ITTF Sports Science and Medical Committee alongside the ITTF Athletes Commission will organize jointly an anti-doping information corner, where players, coaches and officials will have a chance to become acquainted with most recent information on the protection of clean table tennis players in the framework of the World Anti-Doping Code.