Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Versapak hosted its first ever Open Morning at its headquarters in Kent on Monday 14 October. The Open Morning offered the media, our clients and other representatives of the clean sport community the opportunity to learn more about our growing doping control business and see first-hand Versapak’s new Red Dot Award-winning, tamper-evident doping control kit. We are proud to be pioneers in our field, and to work with some of the leading anti-doping organisations and international sports federations out there.
But beneath our corporate ambitions to grow as a doping control manufacturer is an underlying purpose – a sense of duty, even – to play our part in repairing the lost athlete trust in the anti-doping system that has developed in recent years. That is what drives my team and I, day in and day out. We aim to help restore athlete trust in three ways.
Firstly, we are committed to working with athletes throughout the research and development phase of our products. Without ‘buy in’ from athletes, we don’t believe our products would stand the test of time. At a time like now, when athletes are questioning the anti-doping system, it is essential to us that athletes believe in the testing kit. And that comes with athletes gaining an understanding of how we plan on developing new products and why we are developing them in such a way.
Above all, it involves listening to athlete feedback and taking on board that feedback to ensure we remain pioneers in our field. This philosophy that underpins our work, is why we have Rio 2016 Silver Medalist Para-Powerlifter Ali Jawad as our Athlete Ambassador, and it’s why we are speaking to Ali and other athletes on a regular basis to gauge their views and seek their guidance on what we can do better. After all, we want the best athletes to win, not the best cheats.
We also believe that having become, and remaining, a pioneer in our field will mean we contribute to restoring athlete trust. We are proud to have won the prestigious Red Dot Award for our new doping control kit earlier this year, but we are not complacent because what works today will need to be improved upon tomorrow.
I am pleased to be able to say that we can guarantee that our kit is 100% tamper evident; something that has become ever more important following Sochi 2014. Our double-skinned doping control bottle is designed specifically to reveal any evidence of interference. Furthermore, our unique laser printed barcode system with an individual number for each piece of kit means we would know if someone was trying to copy our kit and subvert the system. And what can be more important to athletes than this?
Finally, we promote the notion of greater choice of doping control kit for athletes. At our recent Open Morning, we discussed how choice was not only essential for athletes but also healthy for the system. Why, you might ask? Well, with greater choice of testing kit, there is less chance for those intent on manipulating the system to become familiar with each doping control manufacturer. There is less chance for them to succeed, and for us to see a repeat of Sochi.
I have just come from the World Conference on Doping in Sport, and this idea of greater choice is something I put to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). If WADA were to officially recognise – and encourage NADOs to use – kit from all of the current five Doping Control Manufacturers, then that would lead to an improved system. A monopoly is not good for anyone, least of all those that believe in clean sport.
We want to ensure there is a real choice for Athletes. The World Anti-Doping Code states that a choice in testing kit is required. However, the reality is a choice of a kit, but from just one supplier. It is clear that this monopoly in the market is now being challenged.
Versapak is gaining ground and steadily winning market share, as anti-doping organisations around the globe start to engage with other suppliers. This is a real positive for all stakeholders and to the detriment of those intent on cheating.
Versapak’s kit is 100% tamper evident, and what’s more, with more than one supplier those intent on cheating will have a tougher barrier to circumvent the system. We want WADA to publish a list of all approved suppliers, so that there is greater transparency and clarity on the choice of kits, reducing key supplier risk and breaking the commonly held believe there is only one supplier.
We believe our doping control kit is the best out there. Our recent Red Dot Award is evidence of that. We are ready to grow and remain a pioneer in our market. Our pioneering approach is not only good for Versapak, it is good for athletes, sports fans and all who cherish clean sport.
• This article was supplied to The Sports Integrity Initiative by Versapak
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