This week is UK Anti-Doping’s Clean Sport Week 2023, and Table Tennis England stands united in the promotion of anti-doping education and practices.
UKAD’s national awareness week is aimed at promoting the message that “everyone has a role to play in keeping sport fair and clean” and runs from May 22-26.
During the pre-World Championship training camp, Head of Performance Development Gavin Evans emphasised the importance of clean sport within table tennis.
“It’s incredibly important, it’s at the forefront of our minds the whole time,” he said.
“It’s our responsibility as a coaching team and support team to make sure that the athletes understand the risks that sport faces and ultimately understand what they’re putting in their body is their responsibility, and that we need to educate them on what is and isn’t the right thing to be putting in their body.
“We can’t have anyone cheating in this sport. It’s not what sport’s about, so we make sure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities.”
Part of UKAD’s initiative focuses on the team around athletes by encouraging them all to do their part in delivering appropriate practices and measures to ensure that athletes can play and win fairly.
This means encouraging not only athletes, but friends, family, coaches, physios, governing bodies, sponsors and anyone else connected with an athlete to be aware of anti-doping measures and practices.
This team around the athlete is something that Gavin believes is being cultivated within Table Tennis England.
He said: “There is a personal responsibility to this, but there’s also a team responsibility that if you’re part of a team, you have a responsibility to that team, that you make sure that when we’re competing, it’s clean.”
Activities being undertaken by Table Tennis England include running UKAD workshops at all levels of the performance pool of players.
Evans added: “Right from the bottom of our pathway – we’re talking nine and 10 year olds all the way up to seniors – we run regular UKAD workshops and that’s about delivering UK Anti-Doping, what the requirements are for athletes and how they adhere to them and best practice within sport.”