The growing need for education to play a greater role in the fight against doping in sport was the theme of a presentation given by WADA Director of Education and Program Development Rob Koehler at the Tackling Doping in Sport conference in London this week.
The presentation was first delivered at WADA’s Foundation Board in Montreal last November, and again at WADA’s Athlete Committee meeting in New York in January.
During his presentation Mr. Koehler highlighted the crucial difference between the provision of anti-doping information and the necessity for anti-doping education, and recommended that education figures more prominently in the World Anti-Doping Code and anti-doping programs across the world.
Mr. Koehler also explained that education should be considered a vital component in deterring athletes from doping, with a particular focus on young people growing up in what has been described as the ‘me generation’.
“I touched upon a number of themes related to education which continue to be more and more relevant to the fight against doping in sport,” explained Mr. Koehler, following his presentation at Twickenham Stadium in South West London.
“WADA is encouraging the sports movement and governments across the world to fully embrace the idea that of anti-doping information on its own is no longer sufficient in the fight against doping in sport. This information needs to be delivered within a proper educational framework.
“We need to change people’s mindset before they go down the route of doping, and especially the younger generation. This can only be fully achieved through coherent education programs.”
Mr. Koehler also posed a series of questions at the two-day summit, including whether society is now more accepting of cheats than it was last century, whether sport is a reflection of society, whether corruption is having a significant influence and whether “moral disengagement” has allowed doping athletes to justify their cheating behaviour.