PSC expects resolution of row with world anti-doping body

SPORTS TALK. Philippine Sports Commission Chairperson Richard Bachmann (center) and Executive Director Paulo Francisco Tatad (left), together with Philippine National Anti-Doping Agency officer Nathan Vasquez, discuss World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issues in relation with the upcoming Paris Olympics, during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association forum at the PSC Conference Room in Malate, Manila on Tuesday (Feb. 20, 2024). They expressed optimism that compliance issues with WADA will be resolved soon and will not affect the country's participation in international competitions, including the Olympics in July. (PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)
SPORTS TALK. Philippine Sports Commission Chairperson Richard Bachmann (center) and Executive Director Paulo Francisco Tatad (left), together with Philippine National Anti-Doping Agency officer Nathan Vasquez, discuss World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issues in relation with the upcoming Paris Olympics, during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association forum at the PSC Conference Room in Malate, Manila on Tuesday (Feb. 20, 2024). They expressed optimism that compliance issues with WADA will be resolved soon and will not affect the country's participation in international competitions, including the Olympics in July. (PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is extremely confident the brewing issue with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which has placed the country under threat of suspension from international competitions, will be resolved sooner than expected.

PSC chair Richard Bachmann and executive director Paulo Tatad, together with Philippine National Anti-Doping Organization (Phi-Nado) officer Nathan Vasquez, made the assurance during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

“We are working with Malacañang with the legislative requirements of WADA. The help of Malacanang is greatly appreciated,” Bachmann said during the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation, PSC and Philippine Olympic Committee.

To make sure the country complies with all the WADA requirements, Bachmann called for the need to empower Phi-Nado into a fully independent and operational group with enough manpower that could cater to thousands of athletes in the national pool.

“Right now ang trato namin sa Phi-Nado is like an NSA (national sport association). We just fund them. Siguro dapat independent na sila (Perhaps they should be independent),” Bachmann said, citing the importance of Malacanang’s full support, particularly in funding.

“A perfect example is Indonesia which was non-compliant in 2021. They were forced to establish their own organization,” Vasquez said.

The issue came to a boil when WADA informed the PSC in January, following a previous notice in September last year, of its alleged failure to comply with the WADA code.

PSC’s four outstanding non-conformities with the WADA code are the development and implementation of a Test Distribution Plan; inclusion of all Registered Testing Pool (RTP) athletes from sports or disciplines with an EPOs (endurance hormone) Minimum Level of Analysis (MLA) of 30 percent or greater in their ABP (hematological module) and that a minimum of three blood ABP tests be planned (as well as collected and analyzed); sharing and maintainance of list of athletes in the RTP through WADA’s management system; and prosecution of cases in a timely manner and notification of the parties, including WADA and the national anti-doping organization, about the decision.

Failure to respond positively in 21 days could lead to a suspension of the Philippines from international events, like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and even the Paris Olympics in July.

The Philippines appealed the WADA action and the issue was elevated to the Court of Arbitration in Sports.

Bachmann said the PSC and Phi-Nado, in charge of anti-doping education, and all the stakeholders are doing everything they could to make sure the issue is ironed out even before WADA representatives pay the country a visit next month.

“Other countries within Southeast Asia are also experiencing it right now. That’s why we would look at this as an opportunity. Now we have the stakeholders that are more conscious on what needs to be done,” Tatad said.

“The Office of the President is helping us and the POC and the NSAs are more collaborative. If we have that in place, rest assured we will not have these administrative issues moving forward,” he added.

Tatad said Filipino athletes hoping to qualify for the Paris Olympics are moving on with their bids.

“Nothing is jeopardized. And we are confident that this will be resolved. But we need to prove ourselves,” Tatad said. (PR/PNA)

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