The South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) has been bolstered by a strategic partnership with the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) to conduct anti-doping education and outreach among the rugby playing schools competing in SARLA’s various youth development rugby programmes, including the Vuka League, the Legends Cup and the Carfind Legends Iqhawe Week.
This partnership serves to provide the youth, coaches with information on drugs in sport and their responsibilities with respect to ensuring a drug-free sports environment.
“This is an exciting development for the future growth and success of our rugby development programmes”, said SARLA’s Western Cape Vuka organiser Dale Santon.
The former Springbok hooker works closely with the schools that are involved in the programme and is only too aware of the importance of educating the youth about doping in sport.
“As much as we want to develop the abundance of talent we find in these communities, it must be stressed to the youngsters that, if they want to succeed in this sport, they need to do it the right and safe way”, he said. “There are some many pressures placed on them these days, not just about sport’s doping but social drug use as well”.
SAIDS (www.drugfreesport.org.za) has already been involved in working with SARLA this year, conducting education seminars and information sessions with Vuka coaches and teachers in the Mitchell’s Plain community discussing the knowledge of anti-doping issues and the responsible use of sports supplements amongst their teams.
Coaches were advised that in order to address the challenges of nutrition and conditioning in their respective sporting codes, they should rather consult a qualified professional nutritionist for proper eating plans and fitness trainers for specific training programmes for different sporting codes.
If the athletes can combine these two programmes with the coach’s strategy for improved performance and skills development, they will definitely meet the required needs of the game.
During SARLA’s 2016 Legends Cup, SAIDS (www.drugfreesport.org.za) conducted an outreach programme at the tournament and received a lot of interest from the players and parents who were attending this event. There were many questions concerning steroids and dagga and about these substances’ side effects.
Dagga and steroids are banned in sport as they have physiological and psychological effects on the body, these side effects are common and players know about them but they wanted to confirm that they are true or whether these side effects are a just myth.
“The stakes and prestige in junior level rugby is becoming very high.
Players are being lured with professional contracts during rugby tournaments. The temptation to use short cuts such as performance enhancing drugs increases at the expense of the emphasis on skill development and sportsmanship. We have to equip our junior rugby players with the skills to make the proper decisions that will ensure a playing career rooted in hard work and excellence”, said Khalid Galant, SAIDS (www.drugfreesport.org.za) CEO
SARLA’s CEO Stefan Terblanche reiterated the organisation’s commitment to working with SAIDS.
“We are delighted to have SAIDS on board to help in the fight against the use of banned drugs in sport”, he said.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that anyone who comes through our rugby programmes is made aware of the dangers and, to compete at any level of rugby, there is no room for the use of banned drugs of any kind. To do this we must educate the youth and know that we have played our part in keeping these drugs out of sport”.