Australian athletes speak out against doping on global stage

1 June 2018

In an effort to give athletes a stronger voice in anti-doping, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) have supported two Australian athletes to attend the inaugural World Anti-Doping Agency Athlete Forum. 

Olympic gold medallist Jared Tallent and Paralympic gold medallist Chris Bond will fly to Calgary, Canada tomorrow to join more than 150 other international athletes as they share their views on the fight against doping. 

Jared Tallent is a four-time Olympic medallist in race walking and was nominated by the Australian Olympic Committee to attend the Forum. 

He has firsthand experience of the injustice of doping, after being awarded the 2012 50km walk gold medal four years after the event, when the original gold medallist was disqualified for doping. 

On his attendance at the Forum, Jared said: “I have too often been robbed of my moments in sport and am a vocal and passionate advocate for clean competition. I look forward to the opportunity to speak on behalf of clean athletes, to express our collective opinion and fight for what is right and fair.”

AOC CEO Matt Caroll said: “The AOC fully supports this forum as it gives our athletes a voice. We were very happy to nominate Jared whose experience goes to the heart of these issues. Jared has been rightly passionate in his stance against drug cheats and he will represent Australian athletes with great conviction.” 

Chris Bond is a two-time Paralympic gold medallist in wheelchair rugby as a key member of the Australian Steelers team, and was nominated by the Australian Paralympic Committee.

On his attendance at the Forum, Chris said: “Sport has been an important and central part of my life and I have always been a strong advocate for the need have clean competition in able and Para sport alike. I welcome the opportunity to represent other clean athletes in Australia as we strive to ensure our voices are heard in the battle for a level playing field.”

APC CEO Lynne Anderson said: “The APC fiercely supports the fight against doping in sport and we always stand alongside ASADA and our other partners to ensure every member of our movement understands the role and responsibility we all have to exist on a clean, level playing field. Chris understands this responsibility deeply and I’m sure he will represent the view of Australian athletes articulately and purposefully in Calgary.” 

Supporting the athletes’ attendance at the Forum is the first step in a broader athlete engagement program being developed by ASADA. 

ASADA CEO David Sharpe said: “Protecting clean athletes from the threat of doping is at the core of everything ASADA does. Every test, every investigation, every education session we undertake is designed to prevent doping, to keep dangerous substances away from athletes and to keep cheats out of sport. 

Increasing our engagement with athletes will give us valuable insight into the pressures and demands they face in their careers, helping us to deliver stronger anti-doping programs in future.

There is also no doubt that athletes are the ones who are most affected by doping - it is their sporting dreams and livelihoods at stake - so it is crucial that we have mechanisms in place to hear their ideas, their concerns, and to ensure that we are delivering the information and support that they need to compete in clean, fair sport.

For this reason, I look forward to working closely with both Jared and Chris on their return as we enhance the role of athletes in our bid to protect clean sport in Australia.”

The Forum covers topics such as the development of an Athlete Charter of Rights for possible inclusion in the next revision of the World Anti-Doping Code, the role of whistleblowers, and how athletes can be champions of change.

The full forum agenda is available at: https://wadaglobalathleteforum.info/