Thinley Namgay

Doping is against the universal sports value of fair play and it requires shared responsibilities from all relevant stakeholders to combat, officials from the Bhutan Anti-Doping Committee (BADC) said.

Nima Gyeltshen from the BADC said that the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), sports federations, associations, athletes and Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) , among others, should maximise anti-doping programmes.

He said that it would help greatly if all federations and associations could create awareness about anti-doping at the venues during the competitions and also make anti-doping activities part of their training programmes.

Currently, sports federations and associations do not submit lists of athletes and events to the BADC.

Nima Gyeltshen said it would be challenging for BADC to conduct the doping tests without information about athletes and events.

Currently, federations and associations do not have doping guidelines and are unaware of the best anti-doping activities across the world.

There is also minimum engagement between relevant stakeholders such as the Bhutan Food and Drug Authority, Ministry of Health, MoESD, BOC, and BADC, to frame sustainable policies and guidelines and plans to create awareness.

Officials said stakeholders should be aware of the World Anti-Doping (WADA) Code 2021. WADA Code 2021 is the fundamental document upon which world anti-doping programmes are based. In this document, there are detailed anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations.

If any athlete, coach or official, is found in violation of doping rules, there are severe consequences.

Authorities such as WADA or the national anti-doping committee will ban individuals involved in doping. The punishment can range from two years to a lifetime ban depending on the degree of violation.

For instance, assisting someone  in breaking anti-doping rules or retaliating against reporting to authorities will result in the person being ineligible for sports for a minimum of two years to a lifetime.

One will be banned from sports for a minimum of four years to a lifetime if found  trafficking banned substances or helping someone to use banned substances.

Officials from federations and associations said that they are unable to implement anti-doping programmes owing to an insufficient budget from the government.