23 January 2012

IOC Role Models spread Play True message

WADA Athlete Committee members Frank  Fredericks and Rania Elwani were joined by France’s former biathlon champion Vincent Defrasne on the Play True panel during the ‘Chat with a Role Model’ session at the Youth Winter Olympics last week and all three warned against the dangers of doping in sport.

The panelists gave personal insights into the damage doping can have on sport, and encouraged the 60-strong audience – made up of aspiring athletes, coaches and volunteers – to embrace Play True values.

Vincent (pictured), who won gold in the biathlon pursuit at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, said that he was living proof that it is possible to achieve success as a ‘clean’ athlete, while Rania explained how her silver medal at the All Africa Games had become gold when her rival tested positive.

Frank told how during his athletics career the amount of doping suspicion and rumors had made him even more focused on his own performances.

"All of our sports have rules for play and require specials skills,” said Vincent, who also won relay bronze in Turin and in Salt Lake City four years earlier.

“Play True is the circle that unites all sports. No matter what our sport is, we have to play by the rules and that includes being clean - competing without doping.

"If my children want to compete in biathlon, I will be comfortable with it. I know that it is possible to win World Championships and Olympic Games medals being clean."

Participants at the session also asked the panel questions about whereabouts, what to do if you are offered performance enhancing substances, and whether Paralympians face the same doping issues.