By Shamseer Jaleel
A long felt need was met by the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU), headed by former Science and Sri Lanka Sevens skipper Nazeem Mohamed, when it launched a booklet on anti-doping, Sri Lanka’s first-ever on such an important subject, translated into Sinhala.
The former sevens star said: “This is a project which was kicked off last year. It was not an easy task; the whole project took a long process. At the beginning it was just an idea but as the project went on we had to get different kinds of approvals from time to time. It’s a handy booklet that contains all information pertaining to anti-doping. With the rate of anti-doping cases Sri Lanka experienced in the recent past, we thought someone should kick-start the process and that’s what we did. It’s a useful book not only for rugby but to any sport.”
From left: WPRFU Secretary Waruna de Silva, WPRFU Deputy President M.H. Marso, WPRFU President Nazeem Mohamed, WPRFU Vice President Shamrath Fernando and WPRFU Treasurer Thusitha de Silva
Nazeem speaking further said: “What was evident when some of our WPRFU officials personally spoke to athletes was that they knew very little or nothing at all on anti-doping. Though there are programs conducted by the Ministry of Sports on this subject, the need for a Sinhala book in this regard was highly felt, especially when many of our sportsmen have been banned for using banned performance enhancing substances.”
The book, a direct translation of the Anti-Doping Handbook of International Rugby Board (IRB) – Keep Rugby Clean, comes as a timely and useful script. It contains a detailed protocol from urine sample collection to the end process as well as IRB guidelines on medications and dietary supplements to a list of banned substances or steroids by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Former Zahirian, Police SC skipper and Sri Lanka Prop forward Hafeez Marso said: “We spoke to many players – rugby and other sports. The majority of them stated that they were keen to learn more about anti-doping but the booklet was in English. We thought it’s high time we act on it. At least those who are strangers to this subject will be able to get thorough insight on banned substances and the true nutritional needs of an athlete.”
The project handled by the students of University of Moratuwa was estimated to cost around Rs. 500,000 and should attract some good sponsorship to take away any burden for the WPRFU for the hard work and CSR project done for the country.
Pix by Shehan Gunasekara