TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis has urged the national sporting fraternity and its affiliates to be a part of its webinar on Doping Control during the Pandemic, which gets underway on Saturday from 4pm.

Lewis encourages full participation from athletes, coaches, parents, guardians and support staff and welcomes questions as it relates to performance enhancing in sport, the anti-doping effort and doping control during the pandemic.

The online conference will be facilitated by Regional Anti-Doping Organsation executive director Dr Sasha Sutherland, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Latin America office director Maria Jose Pesce, TTOC project officer Rheeza Grant, TTOC vice-president and chairman of the anti-doping committee Dr Terry Ali, attorney Dave Williams and Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) president Lewis.

TTOC board director Reyah Richardson will chair the meeting.

“It’s going to be an important webinar. It should be considered mandatory because you can’t be participating in sport, especially at a national and international level and want to represent team TT and not gain insight, knowledge and information as it relates to doping controls and the anti-doping processes that we have to adhere to, to protect clean athletes and clean sport,” said Lewis.

The TTOC president believes covid19 has disrupted the anti-doping environment across the globe. Due to the pandemic, Lewis affirmed anti-doping controls have broken down so they have opted to heighten their anti-doping education effort.

He reiterated the importance of sharing knowledge with athletes, coaches and all sport administrators.

“It’s going to be very informative and interactive. You can never have too much information especially when coming from knowledgeable and experienced experts in this environment. For information that is credible, factual and WADA-certified, this webinar is it. Knowledge is power. The first line of defence for clean athletes and clean sport is knowledge,” he added.

Lewis is of the belief that too many times we read and hear about athletes receiving the full brunt of WADA’s sanctions and the claim is that the athlete “didn’t or don’t know”. He said in the context of WADA Code, it’s a strict liability environment. The athlete is deemed responsible for what he or she takes into their body.

“It’s very important for athletes to be knowledgeable and have the necessary information so they can make informed decisions. Even for a coach or support personnel who may be exposing the athlete to an anti-doping violation, an aware and knowledgeable athlete can push back, ask the knowledgeable question and draw it to the attention of the relevant authority,” he concluded.