In keeping with its dedication to educating women athletes and promoting fair competition, the Anti-Doping Committee - a commission by the Executive Committee of the Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) - held a workshop themed ‘Anti-doping in Sports.’ The session brought together 50 female athletes from the Sharjah Ladies Club that will participate in the fourth edition of the tournament, which runs from February 2-12 in Sharjah, under the slogan ‘The World Is Your Court… Together Victorious.’Held at Sharjah Ladies Club, the workshop aimed to promote awareness among the participants about the dangers of doping and its negative impact on health and careers. It also addressed the list of prohibited substances under the World Anti-Doping Code, which is updated regularly by the World Anti-Doping Agency.The participants were told about the types of drugs that are used in doping, including tranquilisers, hormones and performance enhancing agents. They were also informed about established doping control protocols and on the methods of testing, including random checks. The workshop highlighted examples of renowned athletes who have fallen into the trap of doping that contributed to destroying their health and careers. Anti-doping in Sports was conducted by Dr. Abdulaziz Al Muhairi, Head of the AWST Anti-Doping Committee in the presence of HE Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Deputy Chairperson of AWST Supreme Organising Committee, Head of AWST Executive Committee and Director General of SWSF; Hind Al Housani, Manager of AWST; Noura Al Hamar, Head of the Sport Teams Committee and a host of representatives of the participating clubs.“The UAE and Sharjah has come a long way in anti-doping and is committed to ensuring that athletes competing in the emirate’s various competitions are aware of the negative effects doping on physical and psychological health.
Each edition of the tournament sees us testing the participants to make sure that they are not using any forbidden substances, in line with our objective of promoting healthy sport and fair competition,” said Al Naqbi.“We have special sportswomen who have remarkable physical, psychological and intellectual capabilities. They have a responsibility to raise the flags of their countries and represent their people in all sporting events. In itself, this is a driving factor that enhances their determination and confidence to compete without using harmful drugs, and we are confident that our athletes have become our partners in promoting anti-doping,” she added. Al Naqbi pointed out that the AWST Technical Committee, in partnership with other committees - most notably the Anti-Doping Committee - established an integrated preventive programme for the players before the competition in line with its commitment to elevating the status of the tournament. At the same time, she highlighted the complementary roles and underscored that the participants in AWST fourth edition are free of performance enhancing drugs.Al Naqbi also highlighted the strict anti-doping tests and measures against performance enhancing drugs that the AWST Supreme Organising Committee (SOC) has put into place in collaboration with the Anti-doping Committee who are testing 40 samples from inside and outside competitions. The SOC has tied up with Spain’s Barcelona laboratory, which is approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the National Anti-doping Committee for carrying out these tests.For his part, Dr. Abdulaziz Al Muhairi, said: “Through the Anti-Doping Committee, AWST Supreme Organising Committee organised the awareness workshop to promote the risks, dangers and negative impact of doping. The workshop sought to encourage the athletes to commit to international standards in terms of natural sports and avoid doping that contributes to destroying health and ruining careers.”“The tests that we organised in previous editions of the tournament indicated that the participants were not using performance enhancing drugs, which highlights the importance of these sessions on the one hand and reflects the participants’ sense of responsibility on the other. We are working to ensure that this edition of the tournament is also dope-free and will provide an ideal environment for contests to take place conformity with international protocols,” he added.
In respect of athletes on officially prescribed medication, Al Muhairi pointed out that they are required to submit an application form to the Anti-Doping Committee that specifies the type of drugs they are taking. Through relevant medical bodies, the committee can either grant the athlete a treatment-exemption or refuse the request and subject the concerned athlete to the anti-doping protocol.The World Anti-Doping Agency defines doping in sports as any banned substance or drug that is taken to enhance athletic physical performance. The first three years of the 1950s saw an unprecedented use of steroids and stimulant drugs by athletes from around the world, which led many organisations to call for a ban on such drugs. A campaign was launched in Italy in 1954 that featured a series of scientific seminars and in 1961 the first scientific laboratory to detect doping among athletes was established in Florence. France saw the first conference at which the participants voted to ban doping in sports and issued a law in 1964 to punish athletes who violate Olympic rules and use doping.AWST was launched in 2012 as an initiative from Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA), Chairperson of SWSF. The tournament is held in Sharjah every two years.