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This week (May 24-28) is Clean Sport Week – five days of activity, led by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) designed to raise awareness of the drive for clean sport, and promote educational opportunities for athletes.

This year’s theme is ‘Ready for the Games’, urging athletes to ensure they are ready as summer and winter Olympics and Paralympics approach, and the sporting calendar begins to be repopulated after the pandemic.

At the BAC, we provide independent and confidential support to athletes regarding the anti-doping process. Here, BAC Athlete Support Manager, Ofure Ugiagbe, explains how that support works.

“The anti-doping process for elite athletes is rightly comprehensive and detailed. While we know that athletes are supportive of all measures which preserve the integrity of sport, the process can be complicated and daunting if you are new to your World Class Programme.

“We work collaboratively with UKAD to ensure athletes understand the anti-doping process and to raise awareness of the support mechanisms available. Our athlete briefings will always reference anti-doping and similarly, UKAD education materials signpost eligible athletes to the BAC for support. If an athlete has any questions around the process, they can get in touch with us by email, over the phone, or through our website.

“It is important that if you have a whereabouts failure, you reach out to us for guidance as soon as possible. We can help to support athlete understanding of the relevant information to ensure informed decision making. What the support package looks like will depend on your individual circumstances, but we can have a confidential discussion to outline next steps.

“All BAC Athlete Support staff have completed their UKAD accredited advisor training and are able to have an initial conversation with you to understand your own individual circumstances. Where appropriate, for example if you have been found guilty of an anti-doping violation and you wish to challenge, we have the ability (determined on a case-by-case basis) to connect you with pro bono legal support, the providers of which will be able to advise and support you further.

“As an athlete, you’ll be acutely aware of the toll that certain processes can take on your wellbeing, and the importance of utilising the support available. If it does become overwhelming, and you think you need some mental health support, we can initiate a confidential referral to connect you with a medical professional.

“As with all areas of support, it is our aim to facilitate the best possible outcome, and we will do this with impartial, confidential and expert advice. To request support, email support@britishathletes.org.”

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