Athletes need education on doping

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Mikia Kalati

LIKUENA and Lioli midfielder, Tšoanelo Koetle, has been hogging the headlines for the wrong reasons for the past two months after it was announced that the player refused to undergo a doping test late last year.

The test was organised by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) in its capacity as the local National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO).

The issue matter has become a talking point and seems to have also divided opinions from the associations involved.

The Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) have come out to say that NADO has since been disbanded because it was chaired by Advocate Tšepo Ntaope who allegedly did not have the qualifications to lead such a body.

LeFA also say they await a decision from Regional Anti-Doping Organisations (RADO) to determine the way forward on the matter.

It is one of the worst kept secrets that LNOC and LeFA have not been seeing eye to eye for a year now but my concern is not so much on who is right or wrong as it is on the well-being of Koetle.

Both parties have a role to play in guiding Koetle on this issue.

I hope that for the sake of the integrity and development of sports in the country, the LNOC and LeFA will come together to solve the issue.

I think both bodies have not done enough to educate athletes on anti-doping matters and this is the chance for them to correct.

Many of our athletes are illiterate and that calls for the two associations to educate them on the consequences of doping which could destroy their careers.

Local athletes should also learn from the unfortunate example is Mamoroallo Tjoka, who had to serve a two year ban before returning to athletics last year.

The marathon queen has never hid the fact that she v illiterate challenges and that could have contributed to her positive test for a banned substance in 2014 when she had to deal with injuries that plagued her at that time.

There will be cases where athletes will use anything that comes their way in a desperate bid to find a cure for injuries.

There are also some athletes, especially footballers who smoke marijuana.

My experience in football administration has shown me that marijuana is popular with players from places like Qoaling and Tšenola.

As the sports mother body, the LNOC should work with different associations to educate local athletes on the dangers of drug abuse.

Our athletes generally do not earn much from their sporting careers and it would be very sad for them to lose even that little due to suspensions for doping.

Having said that, it would be remiss of me not to point out that ultimately, the athletes have a responsibility to look after themselves and avoid anything that would jeopardise their careers.

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