#CurlClean a success at VoIP Defender World Juniors
Just in time for the VoIP World Junior World Championships 2017 in Gangneung, Korea, the World Curling Federation (WCF) joined forces with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to promote a new Legacy Initiative, labelled #CurlClean.
The baseline for the programme is simple: creating awareness and promoting clean sport. Doping is a serious matter and while WADA and the WCF make that very clear, they hope #CurlClean will encourage the younger athletes at these championships to be a part of the conversation.
Susan Keith, WCF’s Anti-Doping Administrator was in Gangneung, and she started out by saying that the reception of the programme was overwhelmingly positive.
“It has been excellent and even better than I thought it was going to be,” she said.
Stacy Spletzer-Jegen, WADA’s Senior Manager of Athlete Relations and Communications explained the baseline for the programme as insightful and encouraging to make athletes aware. It was created to be a positive experience into the world that is anti-doping responsibility and management.
She said: “It should feel approachable. It’s a part of every athlete’s life, so to know where they can ask questions and just to not be afraid of it is good. We want them to feel like anti-doping isn’t a police thing.”
Luc Violette, vice skip with Team USA noted that WADA and WCF made the entire experience fun and encouraging but also a high priority.
“It’s really important that they have programmes in place. It’s hard to understand what exactly the sanctions are, exactly what is safe or not,” he said. Speaking as an athlete he added: “#CurlClean and our experience working with WADA has been really important in improving our understanding of what is okay.”
With a section of the athlete’s preparation area set up for the WADA and #CurlClean team, competitors were encouraged to stop by for information and activities. This included completing the Play True quiz consisting of ten questions to familiarise the athletes with the roles and responsibilities behind anti-doping. The Korean Anti-Doping Agency (KADA) was also present, working alongside WADA and the WCF, taking photos and handing out much-needed KADA hand warmers.
Perhaps the biggest part of the entire campaign came when athletes pledged their allegiance to curl clean. Competitors placed a painted hand on a white banner and signed their name and country in a statement that said, “I’m in!”
Sweden’s vice skip, Almida De Val reflected on placing her hand on the banner and the significance it has:
“It sets a memory in a lot of people, remembering it and just thinking about how important it is”, she said.
Stacy from WADA explained that the banners and encouraging dialogue were present for a reason.
“I think there is a place for lectures, a place for information sessions, but this is an inviting place for them. These athletes are also young and just starting their careers, so to have them see the logo, see #CurlClean and to start thinking about it and themselves is a win-win.”
Sweden’s De Val mentioned that, as athletes, “we have to start somewhere – to do it right from the beginning and install the spirit of curling. It’s super important that everyone gets the chance and that there is no doping in the sport.”
While one might not think of curling as a sport which has a need for anti-doping measures, it is a pragmatic and crucial part of ensuring true sport and fairness amongst players and teams.
“[In] sport in general, anti-doping is a reality and you can’t avoid it,” Stacy said, “anti-doping is a very complicated issue and it’s not just about taking steroids. There is a lot [that] athletes need to know about their rights and responsibilities as they progress and become more elite.”
Violette [Team USA] added: “There is such an intense integrity in the sport and [we] really don’t see any curlers doping. That’s something [we] can hold onto as a sport. #CurlClean will help us do that.”
The potential to bring this to future competitions is a final added positive outcome for WADA and WCF. The banners, tools and gear are now available for use at any of their competitions. This will allow for a continued presence to promote the values of clean sport.
Look out for #CurlClean legacy programme at future WCF championships!