Edinburgh cyclist Callum Skinner has called for tougher sanctions on athletes caught doping to help in the battle to rid sport of cheats.
The 25-year-old, who won an Olympic gold medal in the team sprint alongside Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes at Rio 2016. before securing bronze in the 1000m Time Trial for Scotland at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last month, is a passionate advocate of the anti-doping movement.
During #CleanSportWeek 2018, which is being supported by sportscotland, Skinner – who sits on the Athletes Committee of UK Anti-Doping – admits that as a clean athlete it pains him to hear of doping cases
To combat the problem, Skinner would like to see harsher punishments, particularly for repeat offenders, and lifelong bans in some cases.
He said: “It’s disappointing and damaging to the sport. Spectators and athletes want to see genuine and honest results.
“I think the sanction needs to be tougher for doping, especially for repeat offenders.
“I’d like to see career-long bans for blatant intentional doping, specifically when using substances that may have a lifelong impact as some studies suggest steroids do.”
Skinner is determined to use his role as a member of the UK Anti-Doping Athlete Committee to push for change and for greater awareness of the issue in sport. He is urging people involved in sport in Scotland to play their own part to keep sport as clean as possible.
He said: “I want to push the cause of clean athletes as much as possible. There is no place for cheats in sport. The benefits of clean sport are endless. Sport should be a fair competition. It’s also about athlete welfare and safety.
“Everyone can play their part in keeping their sport clean, through checking their own supplements and medications. You can report doping in sport via the UK Anti-Doping or World Anti-Doping Agency website. Even if it’s just a hunch it can be a help.
“The responsibility is ultimately on the athlete, however. What goes into your body is your responsibility. If you are unsure, please check before acting.”
Mike Whittingham, sportscotland Director of High Performance, said: “sportscotland is committed to ensuring Scottish athletes and their support teams have access to a system of world-class preparation and support.
“Our partnership with UK Anti-Doping helps ensure that we meet our shared objectives of preparing athletes for major competitions.
“sportscotland offer free education to Scottish Governing Bodies of sport through our Clean Sport workshops and our Food First workshops which educate on the risks associated with supplement use and practical skills in nutrition recovery. Athletes and relevant staff also have access to free advice and education through online support.
“We look forward to continuing our work with UKAD and individual sports to ensure athletes have all the relevant training and information to assist in their preparations.”