OCA youth camp athletes warned of doping dangers

Oct 23, 2016

With Monday afternoon’s training session cancelled due to a tropical rainstorm, the athletes at the OCA rowing youth camp were introduced to the dangers of doping in sport. The athletes and coaches were due to leave for Bang Pai Reservoir at 3pm for their second training session of the day, but shortly before the intended departure time Pattaya was hit by a torrential downpour.

Staff at the reservoir – a 40-minute journey for a convoy of three buses – advised that the conditions were too dangerous, with strong winds adding to the heavy rain. So the buses remained at the Ambassador City Hotel and the athletes and coaches headed for the convention centre for a three-part presentation, followed by physical training drills in the gym or on rowing machines.

Chris Perry, head coach of the OCA rowing youth camp, warned the athletes about buying medicine over the counter at a chemist’s or pharmacy if they were suffering from a cold or other minor ailment, as the medicine could contain a prohibited substance. “Many doping cases involve athletes who do not deliberately take performance-enhancing drugs,” he said.

“It happens because they buy medicine because they are not feeling well but are unaware that the medicine may contain a chemical that is on the banned list of the World Anti-Doping Association. “So we urge all young athletes to not buy medicine at the chemist’s without checking what is in the medicine. It is better to see your team doctor or a medical official at the event to check that the medicine is okay to take.”

Perry’s advice was aimed mostly at the young athletes who will stay on at Pattaya after the OCA camp for the Asian Rowing Junior Championships next week. He said that the event would likely be subject to anti-doping tests, either by the Thai organisers, the International Rowing Federation (FISA) or by WADA.

The second presentation was on injury prevention, stressing the importance of correct body posture in the rowing boat to avoid complications, especially in the back.The final presentation was on basic rowing technique, common faults and correction. “Do not think pull, think push,” Perry stressed, as most observers believe rowing is about pulling with the arms rather than pushing with the legs to move the boat smoothly.

The camp, which runs from October 14-23, will include race practice on Wednesday and Saturday. With the rowers knowing the start time of their race well in advance, the coaches will observe the athletes’ warm-up on the land and in the boat to simulate race conditions. The athletes will also be exposed to start commands and timing, not just over the standard 2km course but also shorter distances for the newcomers to give them race-day conditions.