Table tennis is a clean sport but vigilant, Dagouret explains

The ITTF’s Anti-Doping Manager fully committed at WJTTC in Riva to safeguard the integrity of table tennis, even though out of any risk

28 november 2017

The ITTF Anti-doping Manager, Françoise Dagouret, is fully committed at 2017 World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Riva del Garda keeping over 200 athletes under control.

How many players may undergo to antidoping control during the entire competition?

Françoise Dagouret: “Oh, I cannot tell you that (laughs).

Can you explain how does the process work?

We decide how many tests to do and whom we control. The costs of these tests are paid par the Organization Committee. So we work side by side with them, normally a national anti-doping agency (like the CONI here), but more and more with privates agency. The samples are then sent to a laboratory chosen by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). We have different samples to do like blood tests, EPO or growth hormone”.

Table tennis is a sport less at risk than others. Could you give us some numbers or details to understand the situation?

You are completely right. This is clearly a less risky sport, in particular because endurance qualities are not essential. But there are two important things to be considered. First, we have to do deterrence; we have to show in the big events that we are here and make controls. Second, there is what we call the inadvertent doping. This means that some athletes don’t want to resort to doping, but they take some without knowing it. Rules are always stricter and being aware of these rules is very important. For table tennis all over the world, there are between 5 and 10 cases per year, including the para table tennis. To be honest, in a sport like this, I don’t think there really are players who want to resort to doping. Obviously, we have to be vigilant and continue doing tests”.

Your job not only consist ofcontrolling athletes, but also in raising players’ awareness, right?

Yes, we try to do it. But the most of the job in this area is done by an ITTF’s education department. Not only players are target by this department, but also the entourage like coaches. Who better than the coaches can deliver information to the players? So, education is very important for us to reduce the inadvertent doping. Nevertheless, we have a ten-question survey (in almost 40 different languages) on a tablet about doping that we try to submit to the national coaches. But it is hard to find the good time to do it during a competition. We should maybe better try during training camps”.

Luca Anthonioz