Ireland continues to lead the way on anti-doping according to John Treacy.
The Sport Ireland chief was speaking to the media following the annual anti-doping review claiming that while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to make “soft decisions” on anti-doping, we as a nation have a strong voice and are one of the leading countries when it comes to clean sport.
“It is actually one country at a time and I think if I was to look back in terms of where we were ten years ago and where we are now, we have improved. I think the world has improved.
“We do see the IOC’s still making soft decisions on anti-doping and that’s why the leaders come together to ensure we have a voice and we speak for clean athletes and that’s what we have to continue to do, speak up.
“We have a voice and we have a strong voice and if you see countries like; the USA, Canada, the UK, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, that’s a powerful group of people that want to do the right thing and all of these countries put a huge amount of money into anti-doping and we’ve led the way and we continue to lead the way as you saw in terms of us helping Malta, that’s what we often do, help another country come up to the same standard.”
Only two anti-doping violations were recorded in Ireland in 2018 with only one Irish athlete sanctioned for the use of cannabis.
Treacy believes this is down to the huge amount of work going into educating athletes properly as no Irish athlete wishes to inadvertently violate the rules.
“We don’t want any athletes inadvertently causing themselves an anti-doping violation which is hugely embarrassing in Ireland. There’s a lot of good work done by NGB’s (National Governing Bodies) in training tutors, we train those tutors as well and a lot of good work in terms of filtering down the education piece.
“It’s important to note e-learning is up well and we’ve seen dozens of numbers in terms of people on the e-learning outlet which is really, really important, so what we’re basically trying to take out of the equation here is no-one can claim they don’t know anything about anti-doping and I actually think that is paying dividends.
“In any given year you don’t know what to expect. You never know when you get the phone call right? And that’s what anti-doping is about and is that we can never ever become complacent in this space and we always need to be vigilant. Ireland needs to have a system that we can be proud of and that other countries know if Irish athletes are competing they know they’re competing against clean athletes and that’s what Ireland and the government and Sport Ireland have signed up to.”
According to Treacy, the system in Ireland is rigorous and that Sport Ireland are doing the best job they can to ensure that Irish sport remains clean.
He feels they have a responsibility to be thorough in their testing as there is a huge deterrent in the country when it comes to doping due to the culture in Ireland.
“Well, I think we have a rigorous system. I couldn’t put my hand on heart and say we won’t find five tests next year. All we can do is the best job that we can and target the people in the sports that are the higher risk people, higher-risk athletes, higher risk disciplines that’s all we can do in this space and be vigilant as we can and I suppose is just be rigorous in everything that we do and that’s what we continue to do and that’s just the space that we’re in.”
“I think if you are an Irish athlete there’s a huge deterrent, it’s not like you’re in some other country where they won’t think too much about it but in Ireland people really do think a lot about it and if you’re from a parish or a village or a town and you test positive I think there are huge consequences for everyone and their families they are all embarrassed, it’s not something you can brush over and that’s why we know we have responsibility in this space as well because it’s taken so seriously by the sports and by the players and athletes.”