England and Team Bath netball player, Eboni Beckford-Chambers, describes what clean sport means to her.
As each day goes by, athletes across all sports are getting stronger, fitter, faster and more mentally tough due to the changing landscape of sports science. We are always trying to find new ways that give us that 1% edge which could be the difference between standing on the medal podium or just missing out.
Win, lose or draw I value the importance of knowing that I am competing on a level playing field. I want to know that my performance results are testament to the hard work, time, preparation, sacrifice and effort that I have put in off the court and that the reasons for my success on the court are not because of performance enhancing drugs.
I take confidence from the fact that I want to earn the results I achieve not by cheating the system, myself or my teammates. It is this motivation that gets me into the gym on a daily basis at 06:00 or keeps me on the court until 23:00 perfecting my craft, always pushing for more and striving for greatness.
I am very lucky to have a national governing body who also celebrate this ethos. From a very early stage in my netball career, England Netball has provided me with a thorough education of what ‘clean sport’ means. They have encouraged me to be an informed athlete who understands the processes and protocols that I need to abide by in order to keep competition fair and to minimise the opportunity to put myself at risk.
Through the education workshops provided by UKAD, in partnership with England Netball, I have a better understanding of the short and long term effects that doping can have on my body. In turn, I have a greater awareness of the consequences if caught doping. However, I have also been educated as to how I can protect myself by enlisting the help of online tools such as Global DRO (the medicine checking system) which allows me to take ownership of checking the substances that I put into my body.
The work of UKAD, alongside my governing body, is incredibly important to me in order to maintain the reputation of a sport that I love. I am in my 12th year playing for England Netball and as the profile of the sport continues to grow, it is imperative that we ensure that the integrity of the sport is not comprised.
We all have a duty, and I even more so in my position as a senior England Netball athlete, to encourage the next generation of elite athletes to be as informed as possible. We continue to be the force and foundation that will drive not only netball and women’s sport but sport in general from strength to strength.
For more information on the UKAD education scheme, 100% me, visit the website.