Chencho Dema

Punakha — Bhutan has not recorded any cases of doping either domestically or internationally to date and has consistently upheld fair play principles at the international level.

As a result, not many athletes are aware of the regulations or their implications. 

Director of the Bhutan Anti-Doping Committee (BADC), Nima Gyeltshen said this was cause for concern and cautioned against complacency. “The risk of doping remains ever-present.”

Nima Gyeltshen expressed concerns over the potential rise in anti-doping cases due to the increasing commercialization of sports and the influx of foreign players and coaches into Bhutan. He emphasised the heightened risk associated with these factors and the importance of remaining vigilant in maintaining a clean and fair sporting environment.

“Athletes and concerned federations should be proactive. Better to be informed than to regret,” he said. 

Bhutan is among 191 countries that have ratified the International Convention against doping in sports so far.

During the two-day seminar held in Punakha on the National Sports Seminar, titled “Empowering Ethical Sports Excellence: Integrating Values, Nutrition, Medicine, and Clean Sport,” organised by the Bhutan Anti-Doping Committee (BADC) with support from Olympic Solidarity, various crucial issues were discussed. 

These included sports nutrition, doping-free practices, sports medicine, cardiovascular health, and other essential values and ethical considerations necessary for pursuing excellence in sports.

Meanwhile, the seminar also aimed to share knowledge and best practices for achieving sports excellence through healthy and ethical practices. 

A pharmacologist from Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB), Dr Kipchu Tshering outlined the classifications of drugs prohibited for athletes under various circumstances.

These classifications typically include substances that athletes are not allowed to use at any time, substances banned during competition, and substances prohibited in specific sports. 

“This categorisation helps athletes and medical professionals understand the rules and regulations surrounding drug use in sports and ensures compliance with anti-doping policies,” he said. 

Dr Kipchu Tshering told participants that under specific circumstances, athletes may be granted therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to use certain medications for legitimate medical conditions. 

However, he said it has to be prescribed by a certified doctor.

TUEs are granted when a legitimate medical need exists, and the use of a prohibited substance is necessary to treat the condition without providing an unfair advantage in competition. This process ensures that athletes with medical conditions can receive appropriate treatment while maintaining the integrity of anti-doping regulations.

More than 30 participants from various federations of BOC participated in the seminar that ends today.