Doping tests will be introduced for the first time in ECOWAS traditional tournaments during the 9thedition which begins in Niamey, Niger on Thursday, 6th June 2013 to eliminate drug cheats, the Director of the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, Francis Chuks Njoaguani has said.
The tests, to be conducted randomly as a deterrent, is one of the innovations in the annual tournament, which will also see the introduction of a giant electronic viewing screen, the director said during a pre- event refresher course for judges and referees on Tuesday, 4th June 2013 also held in Niamey.
Wrestlers from all Member States except Cape Verde are participating in the three-day annual event aimed at promoting traditional wrestling in Member States, one of two such events held annually in the region. Dakar hosts the second tournament which will be held from 26 to 29 June 2013.
The Director highlighted the need for officials to work as a team and encourage female and younger upcoming referees for the benefit as well as the capacity development of the ECOWAS region in the sport.
Also at the event, the President of the Nigerien Wrestling Federation, Abdoulaye Assane called on the officials to be fair and just in their officiating, reminding them that their decisions will be the subject of much scrutiny.
He added that a competition is as good as its impartial officiating and therefore urged them to put in their best for the success of the event.
Also speaking, the Vice President of the Association of West African Wrestling Federations (AFLAO) and Chairman of the Technical Committee, Mohamed Baba Abdullahi expressed gratitude for the opportunity that ECOWAS is giving to athletes, which will improve interpersonal relationships and contribute to the growth of the sport in the region.
The Chairman of the AFLAO Referees Commission, Pierre Badiel, used the opportunity to announce introduction of the ECOWAS Monitoring and Evaluation system for referees both at the national and regional tournaments to help improve the conduct of officiating during wrestling tournaments.
The Director General for Sports of the Nigerien Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Fougou Kram Grema, had at a pre-event press conference reassured stakeholders of the country’s preparedness in the areas of infrastructure and security.