SASCOC President ready to run the 'race' against doping in sport | SASCOC - SASCOC

SASCOC President ready to run the ‘race’ against doping in sport

A team of leading South African sports administrators and former sports aces will continue drumming in the anti-drugs message when they join thousands of runners at Saturday’s Old Mutual Two Oceans half-marathon in Cape Town.

Some of the ‘I Play Fair’ team members attended a breakfast in the city on Thursday where they further publicised the campaign against drugs in sport.

Said South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) CEO Khalid Galant: “The country’s leading sports executives are promoting the values and spirit of sport and underpinning the values of fair play and ethics in sport.

“At SAIDS it’s not only about the punishment and banning of people caught using illegal substances, it’s about condoning a healthy lifestyle. It’s good to see people who, once they are done competing at the highest level, still do their bit in taking part in sport as a lifelong thing.”

For his part, SASCOC President Mr Gideon Sam, who will lead the team of 10 in the 21.1km event on Saturday, said it was all about raising awareness.

“We need people to start asking questions about what we’re doing. I remember an occasion before a Junior Commonwealth Games in Australia where one of our young boxers who had a negative return after being tested and when informed, told us that his father had said it was OK to take those pills.

“His sporting life was destroyed at such an early age. We need to ask our young sportsmen and women why they are doing it. There must be a regular education process and we can’t afford an ostrich mentality with our heads in the sand. It’s about setting a visible precedent in much the same way as was done with the HIV/AIDS problem some years back.

“Once one talks about it we can start addressing the scourge more tangibly.”

Sam also wants the national sports movement to avoid being tainted by doping allegations. “A few years ago the Chinese swimmers were under the spotlight, even now the Jamaican athletes are being looked at. We never want our sports fraternity to have to live under the same stigma.”

Also at the event, and part of the Team, was former Springbok rugby player and current SuperSport match analyst Ashwin Willemse who had some moving words of wisdom.

“Sport changed my life and I fundamentally believe that my life journey was changed because of opportunities given to me I was brought up without a father and was economically oppressed  I was told I would either die or end up in prison.

“But sport changed my life for the good.”

Willemse warned of the constant temptation of drugs in sport. “When a sportsman is in rehab after injury it doesn’t matter which gym you are training in, there are always merchants offering the magic potion to offer a quick fix to recovery. I was tempted over a decade of top level sport.

“We need our sports people to know that they can do it the clean way.

“Indeed, it is our duty and responsibility to save the endangered species that is the youth of South Africa. Running on Saturday as part of this team is part of that duty and responsibility.”

Among the team taking part in the Two Oceans Marathon on Saturday are: SASCOC President Gideon Sam; SAIDS CEO Khalid Galant; Cycle Tour CEO David Bellairs; Science to Sport Founder Jeroen Swart; Mizuno and Skins Brand Manager Paul Copson; Springbok rugby star and SuperSport match analyst Ashwin Willemse; Virgin Active PR Manager Chantel Rall, Proteas cricket legend Makhaya Ntini and Olympic rower Matthew Brittain.

Picture: Juliette Bisset/HSM Images