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ASNOC hosts Anti Doping Workshop for upcoming Pacific Games

athletes and officials at ASNOC Anti Doping talks
Also warns of the dangers of contracting malaria while in the Solomon Islands

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Members of Team American Samoa for the upcoming 17th Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands were warned of the dangers of contracting malaria while there and the dangers and consequences of doping or the use of banned performance enhancing substances in sports in a workshop last Thursday at the Good Vibes Restaurant in Tafuna.

It was coordinated by the Oceania Region Anti Doping Organization (ORADO) and was mandatory for both athletes and officials of the sports teams that will be competing.

It was the second one held specially for those who did not attend the first workshop held on October 14th and more than 100 athletes and officials turned up.

The workshop began with a presentation by one of the two doctors traveling with Team American Samoa,  Dr. Jerry Kena, on the dangers of contracting malaria while in the Solomon Islands. The other doctor to travel with the team is ophthalmologist Dr. Ben Siatu’u.

Dr. Kena who is a cardiologist at LBJ Hospital is a Solomon Islander and he stressed the importance of taking preemptive measures to protect team members from being infected with malaria, by taking medication which will be distributed to all athletes and officials before they depart for the Games.

He stated that these pills must be taken by everyone who will be traveling everyday for two weeks before departure, then everyday for the duration of their stay in the Solomon Islands, and everyday for two weeks when they return to the Territory after the Games.

Malaria is a disease endemic to the Solomon Islands meaning it occurs all year round and is spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes, usually at night time. It is a preventable and treatable disease.

It is caused by a parasite called “Plasmodium” which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, these parasites multiply in the liver and then infect red blood cells.

People with malaria often experience a slow rising fever that escalates to a rapid temperature rise and fall, chills and shivering, headache, nausea, excessive sweating, diarrhea, dry cough, muscle or back pain or both and an enlarged spleen.

If left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die.

An example was given of the dangers of malaria: A police officer from Samoa who was deployed to the Solomon Islands as part of the Peacekeeping Forces led by the Australia and New Zealand military, during the political unrest in that country in early 2000, died when he neglected to take his pills after he returned to Samoa.

The officer who was in his 20’s had apparently thought he was in the clear since he had not developed any symptoms of malaria.

However, unbeknownst to him, he had been infected and he soon developed severe complications which led to his untimely death. He left behind a young wife and two children.

The second part of the workshop focused on anti doping and was facilitated by Judy Mulitalo of the American Samoa Anti Doping Organization (ASADO) which works hand in hand with the American Samoa National Olympic Committee (ASNOC).

Mulitalo who is the ORADO Country Lead Doping Control Officer/ Master Educator told Samoa News that the main goal of this part of the workshop was to disseminate information about doping because some athletes can unintentionally violate anti doping regulations, and to educate athletes about their responsibilities in the event they get tested.

According to Mulitalo, ORADO advocates, promotes and coordinates the fight against doping in sport in all its forms in the Oceania region. It works to ensure doping-free sport is valued.

It was established in 2004 as a pilot project involving the National Olympic Committees from four countries — Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.

The structure of ORADO has since evolved with each new member country represented by a Board member who is jointly appointed by the Government and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of each respective country. This Board member is responsible for leading the anti-doping programs in their country.

The Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Palau, American Samoa and New Caledonia joined later in 2004 to become official members of ORADO.

During last Tuesday’s workshop, Mulitalo emphasized the importance of understanding the definition of doping in sports which is, “the occurrence of one or more of the anti-doping rule violations (ADRV).”

“There are 11 ADRVs in international sports and a clear understanding of each one is essential because both athletes and athlete support personnel which includes coaches, trainers and administrators are liable to be charged with doping if they violate one ADRV,” Mulitalo warned.

The 11 ADRV are:

1.           Presence of a prohibited substance, its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample.

  1. 2.        Use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or method by an athlete.
  2. 3.         Refusing, evading or failing to submit to sample collection by an athlete.
  3. 4.         Failure to file whereabouts information and/or missed tests by an athlete.
  4. 5.         Tampering or attempted tampering with the doping control process by an athlete or other person.
  5. 6.         Possession of a prohibited substance or method by an athlete support personnel.
  6. 7.         Trafficking or attempted trafficking of a prohibited substance or method by an athlete or other person.
  7. 8.         Administering or attempting to administer a prohibited substance or method to an athlete.
  8. 9.         Complicity or attempted complicity in an ADRV by an athlete  or other person.
  9. 10.      Prohibited Association by an athlete or other person with a sanctioned athlete support personnel.
  10. 11.      Acts to discourage or retaliate against reporting to authorities.

All 11 ADRVs apply to athletes and 7 apply to athlete support personnel or other person.

Athletes who take medication for health conditions were advised to check if the medication they are taking are not included in the list of prohibited substances and methods set by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) which is the global regulator  for anti doping.

Sanctions for violating Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRV) may range from a reprimand to a lifetime ban from all sport. The period of ineligibility will vary depending on the type of ADRV, the circumstances of an individual case, the substance and whether it is a first anti-doping rule violation or not.

She also advised the athletes and officials who attended the workshop that in the event that an athlete gets tested, they should be aware that they have rights.

These include:

  1. 1.         Have a representative present at the Doping Control Station.
  2. 2.         Ask for additional information about sample collection process.
  3. 3.         Request a delay in reporting to the Doping Control Station for a valid reason.
  4. 4.         If you are an athlete with an impairment, you can request for modifications to the sample collection process.

All samples collected will be sent via DHL to a lab in Australia where they will be clinically tested and the results will be forwarded to the ORADO Office in Fiji.

If any of the samples tested are positive, they are then publicized and the National Olympic Committee where the implicated athlete is affiliated is notified.

The athlete is also notified and advised of his/ her right to an appeal.

According to Mulitalo, no athlete or athlete support personnel in the Oceania region has tested positive for doping.


Dr. Jerry Kena, a cardiologist at LBJ Hospital, will be traveling with Team American Samoa to the 17th Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands next month. Dr. Kena who is a Solomon Islander gave a presentation on the dangers of contracting malaria, a disease endemic to the Solomons at last week’s workshop coordinated by the Oceania Regional Anti Doping Organization (ORADO) attended by more than 100 athletes and officials who will be participating in the Games. [photo: Asi A. Fa’asau]