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IRB Keep Rugby Clean Ambassador Felipe Contepomi has been appointed to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Athlete Committee, underscoring Rugby’s commitment to the fight against drugs cheats in sport.
The Argentina captain and Rugby World Cup 2007 bronze medal winner is one of seven leading athletes, past or present, representing seven different sports to sit on the influential Committee that represents the views and rights of athletes worldwide.
A qualified Doctor, Contepomi is joined by Matt Dunn (swimming), Annelies Vandenberghe (korfball), Nina Kemppel (cross-country skiing), Frankie Fredericks (athletics), Katarzyna Rogowiec (Paralympic nordic skiing) and chairman Vyacheslav Fetisov (ice hockey) on the Committee, which will serve between January 2012 and December 2014.
For the first time three observers, who are all current athletes, have been appointed and will give additional support during the Code review process. The observers are sailor Tania Calles, boxer Ken Egan and rower Andréanne Morin.
Rugby has been at the forefront in the fight against doping in sport and Contepomi will perform a key role in helping WADA review the Anti-Doping Code and develop more effective detection, education and awareness programmes as well as how better to understand the challenges faced by athletes.
“I am honoured to be representing Rugby on the WADA Athlete Committee and representing the interests of Rugby players and athletes all around the world in the critical area of Anti-Doping,” said Contepomi.
“As role models we have a big role to play in educating and informing. The ethos of fair play is essential to the spirit of sport and athletes should have the peace of mind that they are competing on a level playing field.”
With Rugby participation expanding by 18 per cent since Rugby World Cup 2007, Rugby’s governing body increased its testing programme to record levels in 2010 undertaking 1,288 tests across men’s and women’s Fifteens and Sevens competitions in every continent with Member Unions undertaking more than 4,000 controls. The extensive regime was supported by the IRB’s Outreach and Keep Rugby Clean education programmes which are run in partnership with WADA.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Felipe’s appointment to the WADA Athlete Committee further reflects Rugby’s commitment in the fight against drugs cheats in sport and ensuring a level playing field for all athletes at all levels.”
“The IRB and its Member Unions operate extensive annual testing and education programmes and as a respected role model, a qualified doctor and an IRB Keep Rugby Clean Ambassador, Felipe has played a central role in educating the global Rugby community about the importance of maintaining a level playing field and the pitfalls of doping.”
“While Rugby has been at the forefront in the fight against doping in sport, it is important that we continue to develop policies that put the player first and ensure that our players have access to the best possible educational framework in the area of Anti-Doping. This includes education around the dangers of using nutritional supplements, performance enhancing and recreational drugs.”
For more information on the IRB’s Anti-Doping testing and education programmes and Anti-Doping rule violations, visit www.keeprugbyclean.com.
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