SAIDS CEO Khalid Galant believes only “stupid dopers” get caught during Craven Week
Khalid Galant, the chief executive of the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS), announced that a record number of schoolboy rugby players tested positive for anabolic steroids during the 2018 Craven Week. Yet Galant believes it was only the “stupid” teenagers who are getting caught.
In a surprisingly honest interview with The Times (UK), Galant shared his frustrations, and perhaps even his disillusionment, with the state of anti-doping in South Africa. Most notably, Galant openly conceded that “sophisticated dopers” are readily able to avoid detection.
“The sophisticated doper is probably the one we don’t catch,” Galant admitted. “It is the stupid doper that gets caught during Craven Week. If you have taken steroids maybe three months before you may be clean when you are tested but of course that doesn’t make you a clean athlete.”
Six rugby players tested positive for multiple steroids at 2018 Craven Week
The six rugby players who tested positive for steroids at Craven Week did not appear to make any effort to avoid detection. Galant believed they were “stupid” due, in no small part, to the fact they they all tested positive for multiple anabolic steroids and drugs commonly used in conjunction with steroids such as tamoxifen.
SIX players from the 2018 Craven Week schoolboy Rugby Tournament testing positive – all for anabolic steroids. Read more about this and other facts and figures in the SAIDS Annual Report 2017/18. https://t.co/GjyGGVFv5Q…/
— SAIDS (@drugfreesportZA) October 12, 2018
Galant’s frustrations did not end there. Galant doubted that drug testing had any meaningful deterrent effect for young rugby athletes. Rugby players are well-known for using anabolic steroids in South Africa. And it is not unusual for teenagers to jump on the steroid bandwagon early on.
“Unfortunately South Africa rugby does have a bit of reputation and it probably starts from school age. We thought we would see a plateau or a decrease in positive tests so it is a great concern, as is the fact that each one of the boys tested positive for a cocktail of steroids. The deterrent effect of testing seems to have had no effect.”
If all of this was not bad enough, Galant also revealed that there was evidence that parents and coaches were actively involved in procuring and administering banned steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
Craven Week is a big deal for schoolboy rugby players, their parents and their coaches. It is used as an event to showcase the skills and abilities of the most talented 16 to 18 year old rugby players in the country.
Several professional rugby teams send scouts to identify the most promising players. This greatly increases the young players’ chances of securing a contract with a professional rugby team.
Galant has all but admitted the failure of SAIDS to stop steroid use at the schoolboy level. The SAIDS CEO has called upon government sports officials to do something about it.
In the meantime, SAIDS hopes it can reduce steroid use with social media campaigns aimed at convincing teenagers to just “say no to doping” because #SayingNOisCool!