Parliament passes anti-doping law

Friday, 26 June 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Ashwin Hemmathagama 

Our Lobby Correspondent

Regulations under the Convention against Doping in Sports Act were passed yesterday in Parliament after a heated debate between Opposition lawmakers and the Government. 

In the absence of Minister of Tourism and Sports, Navin Dissanayake, and Deputy Minister of Tourism and Sports, Vasantha Senanayake to table the motion, UNP MP Ashoka Abeysinghe took the burden of highlighting the importance of the new regulations, which are required to meet international standards as well as to maintain discipline in the sports arena. 

“The World Anti-Doping Agency is updating a list regularly. This list is given to all countries including ours. We have provided these lists and subsequently, after receiving Cabinet approval, this list is to receive Parliamentary approval within 60 days. We received this list in 2014 but there was a delay to get Cabinet approval and present it to the Parliament. So today we bring this to Parliament in order to prevent doping, which has made its way into schools aside from the national and international level,” said MP Abeysinghe.

“We have seen energy drinks being sold and used by schoolchildren. We should bring in rules to control these substances and limit the ability of people to purchase energy drinks,” he added. 

Former Minister of Sports, Mahindananda Aluthgamage accused Minister Dissanayake of making arbitrary decisions that would lead to the destruction of sports in the country and an eventual ban from the International Olympic Committee. 

“There are much important issues at the sports ministry than doping. If the Minister is sick there is a deputy minister. He should have attended. During this month the Olympic committee will ban Sri Lanka. The sports clubs need to take part in qualifying matches. So if it is banned none of our sportsmen and women will be able to compete at the Olympic Games. All this is because of the capricious behaviour of the sports minister. You have failed to hold any of the elections at sports clubs,” said Aluthgamage.

Arriving later, Minister Dissanayake refuted these allegations. According to Minister Dissanayake, most of the serious damage done to the sport sector occurred during Aluthgamage’s tenure and the current Government was trying to rectify these mistakes. 

“Out of 47 sport clubs we have had elections for 30. If you are unhappy why not take a court order prohibiting the elections. We have appointed a committee headed by Ravi Algama and the report of this committee is due within the next two weeks. Sunil Handunnetti has gone to the Bribery Commission and a separate investigation is underway. A lot of people are hoping Sri Lanka will be banned from the international sports arena but this will not happen. 

“You have appointed two interim committees during your tenure as Minister. What is the issue when I appoint one interim committee? In 2008, you appointed the Dharamadasa Committee and again from 2011-2013 you appointed another interim committee. I am looking at resolving the issues between the International Olympic Committee and us. For this a committee was appointed and recommendations were given. We have taken action over the International Olympic Committee issue. This was an issue that came up during your tenure and was caused by the regulations you introduced,” said Minister Dissanayake.