During a recent interview with media personnel, Huggins indicated that during the 2014 season, they undertook several tests on junior athletes along with courses to inform them on the use of prohibited substances in the sport.
“We try as much as possible to empower our athletes… In 2014, we did some random test on a number of our junior athletes. It was a first-time experience for them. So the athletes are aware that as a member of a team or a squad you are subject for testing and inspection.
“You can’t wait until an athlete is a senior and seasoned into some of his or her bad habits and try to contain the athlete after they have already been allowed a certain amount of leeway while youth or junior,” said Huggins, who indicated that one of the first courses on anti-doping was held last December.
“Surprisingly we had about 70 percent of the squad in attendance, and their parents, and they were very engaging,” Huggins said.
He explained that this initiative has registered with the athletes, more specifically, those who he trains.
“I have had members of my squad who approach me and requested to receive soft copy of the information. They have direct access to the WADA website. They are aware of the World Anti-Doping Code before they purchase any of their supplements. They will always go and do their own research,” Huggins pointed out.
The SKNAAA official said he wants athletes to be proactive about the sport they love, to question officials, research and learn more about every aspect of athletics.
“I always say to my athletes if they are not harassing us, or enquiring about something, whether it is a race strategy or changes in your body or questions about their dietary needs, or even questions certain things like substances that are banned on the WADA Code, then something is wrong,” opined the SKNAAA official.
According to Huggins, this is done to minimize public embarrassment that would be associated with an athlete found with a positive test.
“We do as much as we can on our end. As of late, we don’t take anything for granted. We already had the embarrassing situation in 2012 at the London Olympic Games, and we don’t want a repeat of that situation.” Huggins exclaimed.
According to the PRO, these testing are done at the discretion of the association.
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