ROC and RIOU held a series of educational events on new anti-doping rules

The Russian Olympic Committee and the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU), together with RUSADA, held a series of educational events online aimed at the fight against doping in sport. The unique lecture programme was of great interest to athletes, coaches and sports professionals alike.

On January 1, 2021, the updated edition of the World Anti-Doping Code came into force, as well as the WADA International Standards. This entailed changes in the All-Russian Anti-Doping Rules and the Anti-Doping Rules of the Russian Olympic Committee.

Given the importance and relevance of anti-doping issues, the ROC took the initiative to inform athletes, coaches, sports doctors and other specialists in detail about the key aspects of the new documents, and also provided funding for this project which was implemented at the educational facilities of the RIOU.

The seminars were held online and generated considerable excitement among athletes and coaches: there were more than 300 people who listened to the lecture on the specifics of anti-doping rules applicable to the Tokyo Games. Taking this into account, the next seminar with representatives of the National Olympic Sports Federations was simultaneously broadcast on a popular video service, which helped around one thousand registered users to receive new knowledge.

On February 1 and 2, coaches and specialists of the Russian sports teams attended the advanced training course:  “Updated system of regulation of anti-doping measures.” About 600 people signed up and participated. A significant part of the audience was made up of specialists working in track-and-field athletics. The emphasis in this case was placed on the representatives of summer sports, in view of the upcoming Tokyo Games. For two days, the participants listened to 16 hours of lectures delivered by Associate Professor of the Department of Sports Medicine at the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism Alexander Miroshnikov, World Athletics independent international expert Margarita Pakhnotskaya, Head of the Department for Therapeutic Use of Prohibited Substances at RUSADA Pavel Khorkin, Specialist of the Department for Implementing Educational Programmes Andrey Tigai (RUSADA) and Head of the Department for Implementing Educational Programmes Valeria Konova (RUSADA). The honourable speakers and the presentation format made the programme unique for the Russian audience and numerous participants were glad to give assessments afterwards.

— There are many advanced training courses in Russia, but all of them are fee-based. And when a specialist working in the sports field wants to undergo training, the question of funding immediately arises. In this case, it was resolved thanks to the ROC, — said Veronika Loginova, Advisor to the Rector of the RIOU on Development of Anti-Doping Programmes. — An important distinctive feature is that all our lecturers have extensive experience in the anti-doping field. Lectures at the RIOU are also given by WADA experts. It is also very important and significant for us that the Representatives of the World Anti-Doping Agency have declared their readiness for further cooperation in terms of implementing our educational programmes.

All the participants of the advanced training courses successfully passed their final certification. Those who answered all 15 questions correctly shall receive a state-recognized certificate.

— Despite the online format, we tried to diversify the programme as much as possible. The participants were interested in solving problems and answering the questions of the lecturers. Andrey Tigai demonstrated the doping control procedure and presented the equipment for collecting samples, – emphasized Veronika Loginova. — The programme is designed in such a way that it reflects all the necessary and relevant topics. We focused on the target audience and tried to give them the most practical information.

The audience assessed this approach positively — athletes and coaches alike left numerous comments after the end of the lectures expressing words of gratitude.

— I really liked the lecture — the information was presented in a constructive and interesting manner during 1.5 hours. Everything was clear and without any fluff, — said Kirill Grigoryan, bronze medallist in the 50 metre rifle prone event at the Rio Olympics, in his interview to the ROC Information Service. — Special thanks to Margarita Pakhnotskaya for the informative presentation. She was able to keep the attention of the audience from beginning to end. It is one thing to read dull documents, and quite another when they are presented to you in an interesting and insightful way.

Margarita Pakhnotskaya herself, who spoke about the key changes in international documents regulating the fight against doping, admitted to the ROC Information Service that she really tried to use simple words when describing difficult moments. She was quoted as saying: “I wanted the information to be clear and accessible to any target audience, no matter how legally savvy there were.”

For several days, athletes, coaches and representatives of the National Olympic Sports Federations received a lot of new information, and they were able to ask questions and receive comprehensive answers. And the conference on the specifics of anti-doping rules applicable to the Games in Tokyo turned out to be one-of-a-kind since previously there had been no such event. Participants in this seminar learned about the procedure for collecting doping samples, the conditions for obtaining authorization for the therapeutic use of prohibited substances and methods at the Olympic Games in Japan, as well as the specifics of providing information on your location to the ADAMS system during the Games.

— Several years ago there was not enough educational material, but now the sports community may feel that there is a lot of information being presented very fast, and it may be quite difficult to master everything, — emphasized Margarita Pakhnotskaya. — I would like to thank the Russian Olympic Committee and the RIOU for these initiatives and I support their further development. To some extent, I am even grateful to the coronavirus pandemic because such online formats of cooperation have appeared and have become useful. Time was definitely not wasted. People themselves might not read the WADA Code. But here we held lectures so that everyone could successfully pass their final exam — athletes, coaches, as well as specialists.