Are you competing legally?

We often read stories about doping in sport. And it immediately conjures up images of professional sports people, competing at the highest levels, deliberately taking drugs to enhance their performance. We see on the news about Olympic athletes, Tour de France Cyclists, Track & Field competitors and Swimmers who have fallen foul of the Code by testing positive. Often resulting in lengthy banning. But it's not just super sports' stars who are subject to the World Anti Doping Code. The Code is the core document providing the framework for anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations within sport organisations and among public authorities. It has been in force from the 1 January 2004.

South African sports' participants are bound by the laws of this country, and as a signatory to the Code, South Africa has agreed to its terms and principles. Through our membership of ISAF we, as sailors, are also involved in the quest for drug free sport.

As sailors of all ages, genders and competition levels we need to be aware of the provisions of the Code, and ensure that we comply with them. It may sound unnecessary, but even a novice Optimist sailor, competing in a club race on a Sunday morning, might be transgressing the Code.

For instance... how many times, the morning after a great party, have you taken a headache tablet and gone sailing?

Before you take medication of any description, even on the advice of a medical professional, you need to ensure that it does not contain any of the ingredients recorded on the prohibited list as published by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). Participation is still possible whilst on medication, even if it does contain a prohibited ingredient, but a Therapeutic User Exemption (TUE) must be obtained prior to competing.

A TUE may be granted subject to the following criteria:
arrow The competitor would experience significant health problems without taking the prohibited substance or method
arrow Therapeutic use of the substance would not produce significant enhancement of performance
arrow There is no reasonable therapeutic alternative to the use of the otherwise prohibited substance or method

Application for the granting of a TUE can be done by completing a TUE application form and submitting it to South African Sailing for submission to ISAF or The South African Institute for Drug Free Sport.

Please remember, the onus is on you to ensure that you comply with the provisions of the Code. Ignorance is not an excuse and will not be accepted as an extenuating circumstance in the event of your testing positive.

We urge every single sailor, (and parents of our juniors) whether you are taking an over the counter remedy for a cold or a headache or are on prescribed medication for high blood pressure, to be aware of the provisions of the Code. The same applies if you need to use an asthma pump. Similarly, it makes no difference if you are six or 96, whether you are competing in a club race or a world championship, you must comply with the provisions of the Code at all times. The WADA List of Prohibited Substances and Methods 2009 is available as a free PDF download from and is a must read.

The South African Institute for Drug Free Sport: -