From 23 to 25 May Emma Price, Logistics and Allocations Officer along with two UKAD DCO trainers, Murray Brook and Steve Roberts, were invited to deliver the Central Asia Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) Senior Doping Control Officer (DCO) Training in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Many of you reading this may not have heard of nor had the opportunity to travel to Turkmenistan. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect from the trip but I can honestly say it was an incredible experience.
The main focus of the two day event was to deliver training in the doping control sample collection procedure in preparation for the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat. The delivery of training involved long days of extremely hard work but we were more than rewarded by the hospitality of the Turkmenistan NOC – which was second to none.
The majority of the DCOs taking part came from Turkmenistan and had no experience or knowledge of anti-doping and its procedures. However, a small group of DCOs with previous experience had travelled from Mongolia, Pakistan and/or Uzbekistan to receive refresher training and learn more about Lead and out-of-competition DCO work.
Alongside the training, the Central Asia RADO, RADOCA, board meeting was also taking place.
We were given a full tour of the venues which will be in use at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and it’s safe to say that we were all extremely impressed. Although the Games are still over two years away, both the facilities and preparations which are already in place are of the highest standard.
Over the course of the next three days we focused on delivering the DCO training to our new colleagues. Although the principle of the training is similar to what we would deliver to our UK DCOs, a distinct language barrier proved challenging at times to ensure that the right messages were conveyed.
Luckily, our new colleagues from Kazakhstan were able to assist us and ensure that training was as effective as possible. On the third and final day of training each prospective DCO was given a practical assessment to test their new found knowledge. It was great to see each of them put what they had learned into practice and even better to see that they performed extremely well.
From the moment we arrived at Ashgabat Airport until the moment we departed, our hosts from the Turkmenistan National Olympic Committee looked after every aspect of our trip and ensured that a memorable, enjoyable and informative experience was had by all.