ITU Anti-Doping team at Commonwealth Games
Although Triathlon was left off the programme for this year’s Commonwealth Games, ITU is still represented in Delhi, India. ITU’s Anti-Doping Director Leslie Buchanan is at the Games as part of the World Anti-doping Agency’s Outreach Education team. The Athlete Outreach Programme is WADA’s opportunity for direct interaction with athletes, coaches, officials and others associated with sport.
The programme has also proven to offer an effective platform to showcase WADA’s mission and projects by generating positive publicity across the globe while reaching many sportsmen and women without access to anti-doping information.
Lastly, the Outreach Programme works closely with WADA’s key stakeholders such as National Anti-doping Agencies, International Federations, Government officials and athletes by inviting them to serve on different outreach missions.
During the Commonwealth Games the WADA Athlete Outreach team is led by Stacy Spletzer, Senior Manager, Athlete Relations and Communications, WADA (USA) – Manager. Buchanan is happy to be joined by the other members of the team, Dr. Ankush Gupta, National Anti-Doping Agency (India), Wendy Henderson, Federal Sport Department (Northern Ireland), John Osawo, Anti-Doping Officer (Kenya), and Tasi Toalima, Anti-Doping Officer (Samoa).
Athletes, team officials and support personnel of the Commonwealth Games are invited to visit the WADA booth, located beside the main dining hall at the Athlete’s Village. Booth visitors are able to take part in the WADA Anti-doping quiz. If they are successful, they receive a prize and then they are asked to have their photo taken in front of a mock-up of WADA’s Play True magazine cover. This photo is given to the athlete as a keepsake but it is also uploaded onto WADA’s Facebook page where the athlete can comment on their photo to win other prizes. If an athlete is unsuccessful in completing the quiz, then they are given an information booklet and encouraged to return to test their knowledge again.
With the knowledge and experience gained from these Games, Buchanan aims to apply them to similar Education Outreach programmes that ITU will be holding. Thus far ITU has had Anti-doping booths at the past two World Championship Series Grand Finals in Gold Coast and Budapest. The next one is planned for Beijing in September 2011.