Africa needs seat in world sport admin

By Isdore Guvamombe

IT IS fact and not fiction that the administration of world sport is tilted against Africa and Eastern Europe. We are not there when they plan. We only participate and when we do, it seems they are doing us a favour.

They want Africa-based athletes to be punch bags, while they keep the gold medals to massage their conquest egos. We always participate as underdogs.

The world over, black people have excelled in sporting activities at international level and have dominated many sports. Whether they are called black Americans or black Britons, they still remain black people and we all know that slave trade and colonialism is what got them there.

Who does not know Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather? Who doesn’t know the Williams sisters Serena and Venus? Who doesn’t know Pele, Thierry Henry, Ian Wright or John Barnes? What about Usain Bolt, Yaya Toure and Tiger Woods?

When the Rio Olympics 2016 came, descendants stolen by history and thrown into yonder Europe, regenerated and then repacked as black Americans, black French or black Europeans once again excelled.

White Europe and America are happy with these blacks for their sporting prowess, for they bring borrowed fame and project power. But that black colour always reminds us that blacks are Africans. Does it not?   

Uncle Sam is so self-centred, he wants to be the big winner all the time so much so he can do anything to win more medals and that includes cheating by doping and making sure that strong competitors are disqualified on cooked up charges. Ask Russia!

The import of this instalment is that blacks and other nationalities must not be confined to the sporting field only but should also be allowed to occupy influential administrative positions in sports and not to have their fate decided by white Europe and then United States.

Africa as a continent has participated in world sports and therefore cannot be ignored when it comes to administrative positions in structures such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games showed us that the USA and other Anglo-Saxon countries in their pursuit of world hegemony use “dirty methods” not only in politics, but also in sport. This time, the policy of double standards was used in doping.

According to a leaked WADA database (that was hacked by a group called Fancy Bears), a number of top athletes mostly from USA and Britain had permission to use “elicit strong drugs justified by certificates of approval for disguised therapeutic use”. The mostly shocking point is that some of these drugs are so serious that in some EU countries you can even be jailed for dealing in them without certain permissions.

Africa-based athletes and those from countries like Russia were put under serious scrutiny and hence they were not allowed to use an enhancer.

Two serious questions should be raised: How serious should be the disease if these drugs cannot even be found in an ordinary pharmacy? And why do athletes with such diseases usually win gold, silver and bronze medals in international events competing with healthy athletes?

For example, we can take Simon Bales from US (4-time Olympic gold medallist and 10-time world gold medallist) who was taking a psychostimulant – methylphenidate – or Williams sisters who used oxycodone, hydrornorphone, prednisone, prednisolone and methylprednisolone. And many many others. What about the 53 members of British team who also used different kinds of drugs in the 2016 Olympic Games?

Is it not the essence of fair competition that athletes should be in absolutely similar conditions with no exception?

This was a clear legalisation of doping in favour of Anglo-Saxon countries, which Russian and African athletes would be banned for. We shouldn’t forget the unprecedented WADA campaign against Russian Olympic and Paralympic teams.

These facts should make Russian and African leaders think deeply. If WADA can isolate a whole nation from participation in international competitions, nobody is secure. If it happens in sport, what about politics? If it can happen to mighty Russia, what of poor Africa?

To prevent this kind of scenario, Africa should immediately call for deep reforms or even elimination of WADA for the creation of a much more transparent organisation and not only that, but the new organisation should be widely representative.

Only such measures can make sport apolitical, smart and fair and place all athletes on a level playing field.

Only a timely response can stop the United States thinking that they are able to break the rules, whenever it suits them.