The South East Asia Regional Anti-Doping Organization (SEARADO) and South East Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) will be collaborating and co-operating on key anti-doping issues for the upcoming 28th SEA Games.
The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 14 August 2014 to work together on two important areas of anti-doping for the SEA Games; Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) and Results Management (RM).
Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE)
The SEA Games organisers consist of a TUE committee; doctors who have undergone a course on TUE. TUE allows an athlete the use of a prohibited substance or method for a legitimate medical condition.
“The essence really is that it has to be a true therapeutic use, so the athlete must have a legitimate medical condition which is certified by the doctor,” said SEARADO Chairman Dr Patrick Goh, who signed the MOU.
“Even things like growth hormones, any substance which is on the banned list can be therapeutically exempted if it is really needed.”
Changes in Results Management (RM)
In the case of Results Management (RM), an athlete (who placed in the top three positions or through random selection) goes for a urine test. The test result is divided into two samples, A and B, and Sample A is tested for prohibited substances. If Sample A tests positive for prohibited substances, the athlete has a right to get Sample B tested as well.
If Sample B’s result also tests positive for prohibited substances, then the athlete will undergo the RM process whereby they would proceed to a hearing by an independent anti-doping disciplinary panel.
The sanctions for violating an anti-doping rule may range from a reprimand to a lifetime ban.
Athletes have the right to appeal any decisions made by the independent disciplinary panel. Depending on the status of the athlete, the appeal may be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) or an applicable appeals body. International Federations (IFs), the National Doping Organizations (NADOs), and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) also have the right to appeal a decision.
The journey so far
Prior to this MOU, SEAGF had already been in consultation with SEARADO and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over revisions in the SEA Games Anti-Doping Rules and SEA Games Charter. These revisions are needed to keep the rules and Charter aligned with the revised World Anti-Doping Code that will come into effect on 1 January 2015.
Under the MOU, SEAGF and SEARADO aim to work together to establish and execute the smooth running of TUE and RM processes, using the expertise available in the SEAGF’s Medical Committee as well as the SEARADO’s regional TUE and RM expert committees.
Dr Goh said: “The unique thing about these Games and what we’ve just signed, the MOU, is really an essence that now there’s going to be a collaboration between SEA Games Federation and SEARADO which is actually an independent body specialising in anti-doping matters for the region.”
What is SEARADO?
SEARADO was established by the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and government representatives from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam with the assistance of the WADA on 30 November 2006 in Doha, Qatar. The SEARADO office is currently hosted in Singapore.
SEARADO’s primary responsibilities include helping countries in the region develop anti-doping programs that are compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code; educating athletes and support personnel in the region on anti-doping; and working with the Governments and NOCs in the region to become World Anti-Doping Code compliant.