Wednesday, April 17, 2024

ON THE BALL: Life bans leave bodybuilding in a mess


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Boy is bodybuilding in a mess. We’re not just talking about all these anti-doping violations either.

I mean it’s one thing to have your sport tarnished by a slew of positive drug tests but then it’s another thing altogether when it’s the governance that starts to bring the sport in question.

And that’s exactly what Dr Alfred Sparman’s Barbados Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BABBFF) administration has done by banning three former executive members who’ve now been cleared by the National Anti-Doping Commission (NADC).

Just remember this comes just after Sparman’s predecessor Manasseh King quit office and was subsequently banned for three years for running afoul of the World Anti-Doping Code.

But at least King’s actions didn’t severely impact anyone else but himself.

That certainly isn’t the case in Sparman’s situation.

And the thing is this mess could’ve been easily avoided had the BABBFF simply done nothing.

That’s right: all Sparman and company had to do was let the process run its natural course and we wouldn’t be here discussing the latest controversy surrounding local bodybuilding.

But the BABBFF immediately bungled this matter trying to get involved in the first place, and we all know that little anecdote about what happens when you start wrong.

You see, the BABBFF really had no right to call Dr Andrew Forde, Shirley Garnes or Richardson Boyce into a meeting considering the three aren’t members of the body as officials, gym delegates or competitors.

Essentially the association has absolutely no authority over them because they are no longer a part of the association.

I think that should be pretty obvious.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can totally understand why the BABBFF would want the matter resolved as Forde, Garnes and Boyce were facing some very serious allegations.

But the allegations were anti-doping ones, and last I checked those tend to fall under the jurisdiction of the (NADC) and not the BABBFF.

And that brings me to the most salient point here.

Would you even consider calling a meeting, let alone issue sanctions, on a doping matter before the governing body ruled on it?

That’s just begging for all sorts of trouble.

There’s a reason the NADC rules on anti-doping cases, and that’s because they’re equipped and authorised to do such.

They have doping control officers, doping control mechanisms, paid staff and the direct authorisation from the world body, the World Anti-Doping Agency, to make direct rulings on their behalf.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m almost certain the BABBFF has none of the above.

Even if the BABBFF felt so strongly about the allegations, and whatever evidence they had to support them, then the very least the association could’ve done was consult the NADC before doing anything.

That way they would’ve avoided this scenario where they’ve banned three people on allegations that the NADC has now cleared them of.

So what is the BABBFF supposed to say now? They banned three people who aren’t affiliated with the association for refusing to go to a meeting they shouldn’t have attended?

Yeah, try defending that argument.

I mean, it’s either that or admit to being needlessly hasty by rescinding those life bans.

And that still doesn’t undo the damage done to those former executive members, particularly Forde and Garnes, who weren’t allowed to seek re-election for their posts on the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) body because of the BABBFF’s sanctions.

That’s particularly tough for them when you consider they were cleared of any wrongdoing but still ended up losing four different CAC posts between them, including spots as the chairpersons of the medical commission and the women’s committee.

And for what purpose? To show that local bodybuilding is in a mess?

I thought all those positive drug tests already proved that. (JM)


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