Examination of Witnesses (Questions 360-365)|
4 MAY 2004
Ms Guinevere Batten, Mr Giles B Long, and Mr Adam
Q360 Mr Flook: But a slider is not going
to have to compete with a professional footballerhe might
but it is unlikelyso why do they have to have the same?
I am asking the question for you to give me the answer?
Mr Pengilly: Why do we have to
have the same system across sports?
Q361 Mr Flook: Yes, all sports?
Mr Long: Could I just say that
I think it is important that you do have the same system across
all sports. We have already, just from as far as we have got,
worked out that it is a very complex state of affairs. If you
start introducing drugs that you can have in certain sports and
ones that you cannot have in others, it is not unheard of in paralympics
for people to actually move across sport boundaries, particularly,
say, if they have a degenerative condition, and if you did then
you could end up with all sorts of things. You could take a substance
which was okay in sport (a) and by the time you had moved to sport
(b) you could find yourself potentially in the face of a ban.
Q362 Mr Flook: It is also the difference
in the way in which you are treated under your codes to the way
a professional footballer might be treated?
Mr Long: Sure.
Ms Batten: If you, for example,
look at tennis, it would be very different if that sort of thing
happened in my sport of rowing, and I think as rowing came under
the WADA quite a few of the periods of exclusion have been reduced.
I think a standard makes it much simpler to understand. It is
much simpler for the public to understand. It also creates a lot
more strength in trying to get the sentences to stick, because
that is very important, but I would like to see different sports
giving out similar sentences.
Q363 Alan Keen: You have answered the
question I was going to ask you. Would each of you like to say
what changes you would like to see? You have answered some of
this already, but is there anything you would like to add to what
you have said already?
Ms Batten: For us the biggest
thing I think the Government could do to help athletes in this
country is to create a series of supplements that athletes can
take that when they take them they know that the ingredients on
the list are the ingredients, almost to say that it is a medical
standard, so that when they are on the production line that they
know that no other substances have fallen into the supplements
when they are being produced. It is very, very hard for athletes
to be completely responsible for what goes into their body when
there are products that they need to take because, even though
they can have a healthy balanced diet, there are times when athletes
are travelling abroad, they are eating hotel accommodation food
at very, very awkward times to fit in with their schedules, often
the athletes themselves may be on weight restriction diets to
bring themselves down into weight categories. They need to take
supplements, and at the moment when they take a supplement off
the shelf in Boots, even if it is one of the top brands, they
are taking a risk with the whole of their career and it would
be really beneficial.
Q364 Charles Hendry: In your submission
you talk a bit about the role-model aspect as well and you call
for more support for athletes in arranged visits to schools. What
sort of additional support are you looking for?
Ms Batten: I have looked into
this area a little bit. I have gone and spoken at schools and
a lot of schools will come up to me after I have spoken and said,
"Will you come down to my school. Will you do this?"
There is a limit to the amount that you can do. I know there are
a lot of athletes out there that would go and talk to schools,
especially local athletes, because to travel halfway across Britain
when you know an athlete lives next door, so giving the athletes
that are very young, up and coming ones the skills in which to
talk publicly would be very important, and also to link in the
local athletes with the local schools. I am quite fortunate that
my local sports college have adopted me as a patron, and it is
very rewarding as an athlete to go back repeatedly to the same
school and build up a relationship not only with the staff but
with some of the children at the school. So that sort of assistance
in getting that sorted would be helpful.
Q365 Charles Hendry: Who should pay for
that training and pay for the travelling? Who should that be?
Ms Batten: I think that is up
to our sports administrators to find that.
Mr Pengilly: It could be something
within the athletes' career education kind of plan, which has
now got a new name.
Ms Batten: Performance Lifestyle.
Mr Pengilly: Performance Lifestyle,
yes. That could be included in that, but I think some sort of
training and also help working with children, because often some
people would describe elite athletes as a bit obsessive about
what they do, clinical psychologists might often say that, not
that we are freaks or anything, but a bit of training to work
with children as well would not go amiss, but within, say, just
a half-day session, or something like that, would certainly help
and would help to give the athlete more confidence to go out into
these schools as well.
Chairman: Thank you very much. We are
most grateful to you.