Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2023. 6:11 pm CST.
Photo Credit: Belikin La Ruta Maya – Facebook
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The National Anti-Doping Organization of Belize (NADO) announced that it will be conducting ‘in-competition’ tests of random athletes participating in the biggest annual canoe race in Belize, the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge.
The four-stage race from San Ignacio to Belize City will be carried out from March 3-6.
“The La Ruta Maya canoe race is a very prestigious race, with some of the competitors later competing as international paddlers,” NADO Belize Director Gary Ayuso said in a letter that was posted on social media by the Belize Canoe Association (BCA).
“NADO Belize in keeping with the WADA Code will conduct “In-Competition” tests. These tests will be conducted either in between phases of the race or at the end of the race.”
NADO Belize advised the BCA to communicate to the participants that if NADO personnel inform them that they have been selected to be tested, they can’t refuse. If they do, they’ll be in violation and will be sanctioned.
“We understand that a reasonable time should be given to the athletes after they are notified and a NADO Chaperone will then remain with them until testing can be conducted,” NADO Belize said.
NADO Belize informed the BCA in 2020, that it was planning to conduct Anti-Doping testing that year.
“NADO-Belize is mandated to protect the integrity and spirit of Sports in Belize by insuring that fairness, respect for rules and law, dedication and commitment, health, courage, ethics, fair play and honesty, which should be encouraged always by Federations, Associations, Main Event Organizers, Athletes and Athletes support personnel,” said the letter sent to the BCA that year by then NADO Belize Director Charlie Slusher.
The Belize Canoe Association said refusal to cooperate with NADO Belize could carry sanctions to Belize’s international participation.
“The Belize Canoe Association has no control when it come to how the testing will be carried out nor do we have any control of who gets tested,” the Belize Canoe Association said in a comment to its post.
“Any athlete has the option to refuse being tested and see how that works out for the athletes if they refuse the test. As the Association we simply have to cooperate with NADO because if we don’t then our Association can be sanctioned. This would then prohibit Belize from participating in any and all international competitions or races sanctioned by the ICF which we are a member of.”
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