“I believe that IPC Powerlifting’s new educational programme is a positive step in the right direction to help educating countries about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs and supplements."
The Raise the Bar – Say No! to Doping campaign – aiming to educate athletes and teams about anti-doping – has achieved a successful debut at the 2013 IPC Powerlifting Asian Open Championships and the 2013 IPC Powerlifting Brazilian Invitational Championships this week.
Nearly 300 athletes and 80 coaches and team officials from 38 countries attended one-one educational seminars at the Asian Open Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the Brazilian Invitational in Fortaleza, Brazil, and took time to show their support for anti-doping by having their picture taken in front of branded banners.
Great Britain’s Ali Jawad this week added his support to the campaign. In a blog for Paralympic.org, the 24 year-old lifter said:
“I believe that IPC Powerlifting’s new educational programme is a positive step in the right direction to help educating countries about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs and supplements.
"A positive test ruins the reputation of the sport, but I’m glad the cheats are being caught.
"It means the system is working. It gives clean athletes like me a chance at winning major medals.”
The aim of the project, which is funded by the Agitos Foundation, is to give people the knowledge and training to be able to make informed choices during training and competition.
It is targeted not just at athletes but also the people that surround them during competitions, who can be incredibly influential.
Those who took part in the sessions had the chance to test what they had learnt with a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) quiz, and will soon be able to make their support even more visible by wearing t-shirts, caps and carrying water bottles displaying the Raise the Bar branding.
To ensure the message resonates with those who came to the sessions, they were run by respected figures with years of anti-doping experience.
Banners were also placed at either side of the platform during competition in Kuala Lumpur in a further display of how seriously the sport is taking tackling doping in powerlifting.
The next educational sessions will be held at the 2014 IPC Powerlifting Hungarian Open Championships from 10-11 January. In total five competitions are chalked to be part of the campaign, and people can join the conversation and show their support on social media by using the #no2doping.
In total IPC Powerlifting aims to target 500 athletes, which due to the popularity of the first sessions now looks like it will be surpassed, as well as their coaches and teams with the climax of the programme coming at the 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships which take place from 5-11 April in Dubai, UAE.
The project is funded by the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Agitos Foundation.
Pictures from the competitions in Kuala Lumpur and Brazil can be found on IPC Powerlifting’s Facebook page and on Twitter.