All athletes in the UK are part of clean sport. It is the mission of UKAD to protect your right as an athlete to compete in clean sport.
You are already on the talent pathway to elite sport. This means you must incorporate anti-doping practices into your day-to-day life, so that as you progress in sport, anti-doping becomes a normal part of being an athlete.
Strict Liability: not knowing is no excuse
At this stage in your sporting career, you need to know about Strict Liability and what this principle means for your sporting career. Strict Liability means that you are solely responsible for any banned substance you use, attempt to use, or is found in your body, regardless of how it got there and whether you intended to cheat or not.
Think about the following:
- Who advises you on what to eat?
- Has anyone ever given you something to take in addition to your normal daily diet?
- When was the last time you took medication, say for a cold or hay fever?
- Do you have a medical condition that means you have to take medication regularly?
- How aware are your parents/partner of the things athletes can or can’t take?
- Have you ever taken a powdered sports drink?
- If you’ve been injured, have you ever used a cream or lotion as part of your treatment?
- Have you trained abroad? Did you purchase any medication there?
- If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could have put yourself at risk of inadvertent doping - that is, accidentally taking a banned substance. Many over-the-counter medicines and health supplements contain substances that are banned for athletes, especially when in competition.
- Whether you use it or attempt to use it by mistake or on purpose, any banned substance found in your body is your sole responsibility. There are no excuses and you are likely to face a ban from sport.
- Visit How to have clean sporting success to find out about some simple steps to help protect you from inadvertent doping.
Abiding by the Anti-Doping Rules
When it comes to being an athlete, it’s important you are clued up on the anti-doping rules so you can continue to enjoy and achieve success in your sport.
UKAD is responsible for clean sport in the UK. We set the rules and ensure sports adopt and comply with them. This means that we work with your sport to make sure that you compete cleanly and fairly at all stages throughout your career. We do this by delivering education programmes so that you know about key areas of anti-doping. We also carry out other work such as managing doping testing programmes, handling doping cases and gathering intelligence about doping activity.
Your Sport and the Anti-Doping Rules
If you are a member of a club or National Governing Body of sport (NGB), or if you take part in competitions, you must abide by the anti-doping rules associated with your sport. Make sure you find out about these rules from your club or NGB so you know what they are. They should be on your NGBs website.
There may be additional anti-doping rules in place for specific competitions such as regional or national events. Always check the rules of any major competitions you are entering. Your coach will be able to advise you.
Making the Right Decisions
100% me is UKAD’s education programme. It is designed to help you make the right decisions in relation to anti-doping and your sporting career.
At your level, you may be exposed to a range of training sessions, some of which may be out of your usual club and may challenge you further. You’re training harder and may have other things in your life, such as exams, work and friends. It can be tough and at times you may feel under pressure. This is when you need the support of your family and friends to help you make the right decisions and maintain a good balance between all your commitments.
As an athlete, your mind is your most important asset. Developing mental toughness will support you in your career when times become more challenging. Sport is full of highs and lows, and learning to be mentally tough will enable you to stay strong and focused during moments of self-doubt – moments when you may consider taking a short-cut to improve your performance.
Strong decision-making skills and the confidence to stand by your values will underpin your success as an athlete. Sometimes you will be faced with tough decisions. Always try and think things through before you take a course of action.
Things to consider:
- What is the situation I’m facing?
- What are all the possible options available to me?
- Are these options in line with what I believe in?
- What would my sporting hero do in the same situation?
- What are the consequences of taking these options – in 10 minutes, tomorrow, next week, next year, in ten years?
- Who can I ask for advice?
- Can I feel proud and take responsibility for the decision I'm making?
- Would anyone think badly of me if I did this?
- Am I being true to myself?