Sofya Velikaya: ″Members of the ROC Athletes’ Commission will participate in the International Forum of Young Olympians″

Today, the Russian Olympic Committee hosted the second meeting of the ROC Athletes’ Commission this year, chaired by Olympic fencing champion Sofya Velikaya.

One of the main items on the agenda once again became the discussion of issues related to the access of doping control inspectors to athletes during the out-of-competition period. Earlier, representatives of the Athletes’ Commission and RUSADA already discussed a situation where, due to objective reasons, RUSADA doping inspectors cannot fulfill their duties due to reasons beyond the control of athletes, for example, when the entrance door intercom is out of service or when there is a special checkpoint on the premises of a residential building. As a result, athletes are given out warnings and in some cases further sanctions are imposed by international sports organisations.

At the joint meeting held on 22 January, both organisations failed to reach a compromise. The Athletes’ Commission sent letters to the management of the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees, who are the founders of RUSADA, asking for assistance in this matter.

– During the WADA Athlete Committee session in Brussels, we discussed access to out-of-competition athletes for doping control, – Lada Zadonskaya, who was present at the event, told her colleagues. – Representatives of WADA and international federations noted that for them the fact of testing is paramount, rather than the registration of absence. WADA doping officers have the right to call an athlete several minutes before the one-hour interval ends. RUSADA, however, has its own regulations.

Speaking about the legality of such actions, representatives of WADA stated that this issue is entirely within the competence of the national anti-doping agency.

– We will seek support from ROC and RPC. In addition, we expect to participate in the meeting of the governing body of RUSADA, – added Sofya Velikaya.

The Chair of the ROC Athletes’ Commission also spoke about the 9th IOC Athletes’ Forum in Lausanne, reiterating the importance of establishing contacts with representatives of foreign National Olympic Committees and international federations in the run-up to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

– This was a grand and important event, – noted Sofya Velikaya. – We had an opportunity to discuss the Declaration of the Rights and Responsibilities of Athletes, as well as pressing issues such as gender equality, the psychological well-being of athletes and anti-doping issues.

The participants of the Forum called for stepping up the fight against the use of illicit drugs, actively attracting functional athletes as ambassadors of the Olympic movement, and also encouraging the work of the Athletes’ Commissions in the National Olympic Committees.

Sofya Velikaya suggested that her colleagues, on behalf of the ROC Athletes’ Commission, draft a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach, where they can express solidarity with the position of the Forum participants and the leadership of IOC.

– I would also like to stress the importance of improving communication skills in foreign languages. This will allow for a more effective exchange of experience with our foreign colleagues, – added the Olympic champion.

At the end of the meeting, all members of the Commission received an invitation to participate in the International Forum of Young Olympians, which will be held at the Centre for Sport Technologies of the Moscow City Department for Physical Education and Sport on 1 June, Children’s Day.

Plans are underway for famous athletes to guide and accompany future star athletes on the interactive platforms of the Forum, organised by ROC and RUSADA.

The event includes educational seminars on the history of the Olympic movement and the fight against doping, as well as the game “Brain Ring” and a panel discussion.