IRONMAN 70.3 ‘IPlay Fair’ Team Says ‘no’ to Doping
Cape Town – 20th January, 2013 – Industry figures and celebrities took to the roads and ocean today to participate in Institute for Drug-Free Sport’s ‘I Play Fair’ team for the IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon in East London, demonstrating their commitment to drug-free sport, ethics and fair-play.
The Institute for Drug-Free Sport launched its ‘I Play Fair – Say NO! to Doping’ awareness campaign last year to promote drug-free sport and to gain support through education and participation in major sporting events with participating public figures and sporting heroes.
The ‘I Play Fair’ team who began their day with a 1.9km ocean swim in East London’s Orient Beach, followed by a 90.1km bike course and then a 21.1 flat run, led by SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport’s CEO Khalid Galant, included 5FM Radio’s Fikile ‘Fix’ Moeti who says: “To me, it is critical for young people to understand the importance of working hard towards a goal instead of cheating their way to the top.”
Also in the team were Triathlon Plus magazine editor, Glen Gore; JAG Foundation’s Founder Greg James; Chantel Rall; PR & sponsorship manager for Virgin Active South Africa; and Ruben Mogge, and Bryan Gubbins from GreenSmile, an NPO spearheaded by SA rugby players of the Year Ashwin Willemse (2003) and Breyton Paulse (2000) which seeks to help combat the social challenges we are faced with in SA, primarily focused on sport, health and education.
Triathlon Plus’ Glen Gore says that it is important that we send a clear message to the youngsters that they need to say ‘no’ to performance enhancing drugs and resist the temptation to get to the top, the easier way. “As more money is thrown into sport, youngsters are exposed to performance enhancing drugs at a far younger age than in the past these days. We need to send a clear message to them to resist and rather do the hard yards and get to the top of their game, the fair way,” he adds.
JAG Foundation’s Greg James says: “It is important that we support a drug-free environment for all our athletes. The issue is much bigger and has now become a social issue. We are all looking for ways to improve performance. This varies from the latest energy bars/drink, to the next weight loss fad. This is the culture that we are creating and this causes many athletes to venture into the banned substances. This does not only apply to professional athletes but also to amateur and school athletes. We need to start at the cause of why athletes chose to use banned substances and this I believe should start at school level. I want to be part of a group that helps to create this change.”
JAG was established with the aim of keeping children off the street and away from societal issues like gangsterism, drug and alcohol abuse and provide them with alternative lifestyles, using sport as the catalyst to take children from point A to point B in life, educating them and teaching them various life skills thus providing them with a game plan for life.
Virgin Active’s Chantel Rall, who is a cancer survivor, says that she has built dreams on the basis of sports heroes and what they have overcome. “2012 was a sad time in sports history with a fallen hero caught for doping and it is a reminder of a larger issue in competitive sports,” she adds. “There should be zero tolerance for anything that artificially enhances performance. There is too much to lose. We need to send a strong message to stop athletes for even considering doping as a way to win. Let’s educate young athletes, coaches and parents about the dangers of doing and let them know the consequences.”
Institute for Drug-Free Sport’s CEO, Khalid Galant says that while the ‘I Play Fair. Say NO! to doping’ initiative is a national campaign that SAIDS takes to each region, the IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon race is one of the most popular races on the globalIRONMAN 70.3 circuit. “With around 3,000 athletes entering this year we can generate maximum awareness for the national drug-free sport campaign among the participating triathletes and the public.”
Other mass-based sports events that the ‘I Play Fair’ team will participate in this year include; Midmar Mile Swim in KZN, the Cape Argus Cycle Tour and Two Oceans half marathon in Cape Town.
The Institute is encouraging all South African sportsmen and women, coaches and fans to take the ‘I Play Fair – Say NO! To Doping’ pledge by visiting www.drugfreesport.org.za the mobi-site: m.drugfreesport.org.za, on the Facebook Page (iplayfairZA) or via Twitter (@iplayfairZA)