POC bats for massive anti-doping campaign

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas yesterday pushed for the enhancement of the country’s anti-doping program even as he called on the heads of the various NSAs (national sports associations) to monitor their respective athletes and at the same time educate them on the issue.

“I appeal to all NSAs to be constantly aware of the dire consequences of a lack of awareness and education on what substances are to be avoided,” said Vargas.

The POC chief actually met with Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez and both decided to ramp up the country’s anti-doping program starting with random testing of  national athletes even outside of the competition environment.

They likewise agreed to launch a massive information campaign on the issue.

He also empathized with Kiefer Ravena and his family following FIBA’s suspension of the rookie pro, who had failed a doping test conducted by FIBA.

“I am saddened to hear of the FIBA suspension of Ravena after having tested positive for a prohibited substance,” said Vargas in a statement. “While we in the POC remain steadfast in our support of the IOC’s uncompromising stance on the use of performance-enhancing substances, I understand that Kiefer took a pre-workout drink, completely unaware that it contained an ingredient that would result in this unfortunate situation. The said drink is available over the counter and is sold freely to the public.

“This is obviously an innocent act by a national player who has never been known to act in defiance of any rules. However, I understand that WADA provisions are very stringent on these matters,” said Vargas.

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