Callum Skinner with his gold and silver medals from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

A clean break

Callum Skinner explains why he has become an advocate for anti-doping

Callum Skinner is one of Scotland and Great Britain’s leading cyclists, having made his name with an Olympic gold medal in the team sprint alongside Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes at Rio 2016.

He is also a passionate advocate of the anti-doping movement who sits on the Athletes Committee of UK Anti-Doping.

At the start of #CleanSportWeek 2018 he tells Sport First what progress he wants to see in the anti-doping movement in the coming years, and underlines why clean sport is so important.

What do you hope to achieve as a member of the UK Anti-Doping Athlete Committee?

Callum Skinner cycling for Team Scotland at Gold Coast 2018I want to push the cause of clean athletes as much as possible. There is no place for cheats in sport.

What can people involved in sport in Scotland do to promote the benefits of clean sport?

The benefits of clean sport are endless. Sport should be a fair competition. It’s also about athlete welfare and safety.

Everyone can play their part in keeping their sport clean, through checking their own supplements and medications. You can report doping in sport via the UK Anti-Doping or World Anti-Doping Agency website.

Even if it’s just a hunch it can be a help.

At what age did you first receive anti-doping education and could this be introduced earlier for young athletes?

I can’t quite remember when I received my first anti-doping education session. I would guess around 17. I would advocate that the process should start a bit sooner for today’s young athletes. I’ve attended many mandatory sessions in recent years.

 

2 medals, gold and silver, won by Callum Skinner at Rio 2016
£6.1m additional funding granted to UK Anti-Doping in January 2018

 

If you ever see an anti-doping stand at a sport event, don’t be afraid to go and have a chat if you haven’t had direct contact with anyone yet. Or go to the UKAD website.

What other support do athletes need to be better informed about clean sport?

Callum Skinner with Team GB coachIn the elite sport set-up that I’m part of, there isn’t much of an excuse if you slip up. We are regularly educated, our supplements are batch-tested and our medical team will double-check our medications.

The responsibility is ultimately on the athlete, however. What goes into your body is your responsibility. If you are unsure, please check before acting.

How does it feel as a clean athlete when you hear about doping cases?

It’s disappointing and damaging to the sport. Spectators and athletes want to see genuine and honest results. I think the sanction needs to be tougher for doping, especially for repeat offenders.

What does success look like for the #CleanSport campaign in the next two, five, ten years?

I’d like to see a few things happen in those timescales.

The responsibility of testing a nation’s own athletes needs to be done by an independent body, not the national anti-doping authority of that country. 

I’d like to see career-long bans for blatant intentional doping, specifically when using substances that may have a lifelong impact as some studies suggest steroids do.

It would be great to see greater investment into anti-doping programmes. It’s great that UKAD received a big funding boost recently. I’d like to see this replicated with other organisations.

Find out more

Visit the UK Anti-Doping website for all the resources you need. 

Read about the additional £6.1million awarded to UK Anti-Doping by the UK Government in January 2018. 

Check out #CleanSportWeek on Twitter to see all the latest. 

UKAD Clean Sport Week 2018

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