Liberia Sports Could Face Sanction, If…

Reports reaching this paper suggest that the National Anti-Doping Organization of Liberia (NADOL) from the Africa Regional Office of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) in South Africa, Liberia stands the risk of being banned from sport competitions by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for her failure to comply with the anti-doping code “The Code”.

According to Mr. Morris S. Dukuly who is the Director for Liberia’s anti-doping activities, he confirmed the story, stating that since Liberia signed the Copenhagen Declaration in Denmark in 2004 along with other counties committing themselves to joining the fight against doping in sports, Liberia has done nothing so far in this direction.

He said that after seven years, in September 2011, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed the UNESCO Convention against Doping in Sports after the training of two Liberians (Morris S. Dukuly & Jefferson Z. Zoegbeh) at IAAF Regional Development Center (RDC) in Kenya and the People’s Republic of China in Anti- Doping Administration Program.

Mr. Dukuly further explained that since the signing ceremony, Liberia has again failed to implement any program against doping in sports to certify the Code compliance. He explain that Liberia is amongst over hundreds of stakeholders (signatories to the UNESCO Convention) invited to attend the Fourth World Conference on Anti-Doping to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in November 2013, but up till now Liberia has not pre-register her representatives to this all important conference, a process which guarantees participation.

“This conference is intended for stakeholders to give presentations covering anti-doping activities/programs they are engaged in and to present National Proposals to the UNESCO Voluntary Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sports amounting to USD 20,000.00 to support program needs areas,” Mr. Dukuly averred.

“It is believed that during the just ended National Counties Sports Meet, Liberia would have launched its first anti-doping awareness program during the quarter- finals phase of the competitions to meet up with compliance requirement as requested by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and subsequently make reports to this body through NADOL. But this also did not happen for unexplained reasons, even after it was decided and agreed in the coordination meetings that this aspect would have been included in the Counties’ Meet Budget”, he further narrated.

Director Dukuly said they have try on several occasions to meet the Minister of Youth & Sports and his deputies to acquaint them on the matter, but to no avail.

The anti-doping administrators said that Liberia’s only chance to correct the situation is to support the National Anti-Doping Organization of Liberia’s (NADOL) Schools Awareness Program against Doping that has been presented to the Ministry of Youth & Sports for support, and to attend the forth-coming Fourth World Conference on Doping in Sports in South Africa.

He said that the conference is a very unique opportunity for Liberia to showcase its anti-doping activities and to appeal for funding to strengthen and expand the program to other parts of country, and also avoid sanction being taken against her.

“Since its establishment in 1999, WADA has worked to coordinate and harmonize ant-doping activities and rules.  The following sporting bodies have all ratified the WADA Code and are in compliance: The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation of International Football Associations FIFA, and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), all of which Liberia is a member”, he explained.

He disclose that  a budget of USD 19,965.00 was presented to the Ministry last year to form part of its overall national sports budget, but was omitted for unexplained reasons.

Mr. Dukuly said that as an annual due paying member of WADA, it is prudent for Liberia to make use of the UNESCO Voluntary Fund to establish a national agency to work along with the Ministry of Sports, LNOC, sport associations and federations to assist and guide Liberia’s athletes and educate them about the dangers of doping in sports and on their health, and this would start from the level of the schools where most of our young athletes’ are recruited and gradually up to the various premium teams, and then, the national team.

He calls on the Minister of Youth & Sports, Min. Eugene Nagbe to intervene into this matter for a speedy redress to avoid this sanction, which could hamper Liberia’s participation in future sports competitions.

It can be recalled that couple of years ago, three athletes from Liberia were found positive for taking performance enhancing (banned) drugs, amongst them were goal keeper Melvin King of the Lone Star of Liberia and a Power Lifter. These situations have prompted WADA to compelled Liberia to institute anti-doping awareness in its sports programs in Liberia.