IFMA’S INTELLIGENCE TASK FORCE TARGETS CHEATERS
One of IFMA’s main priorities is the protection of clean athletes, keeping the sport of Muaythai at the fairest and highest level. IFMA will continue to commit itself in combating any and all forms of cheating which is a threat to Muaythai and to maintain the integrity of the organisation.
Six years ago, the “IFMA Intelligence Task Force” was established and the task force has brought together the different commissions of IFMA to tackle doping, match-fixing and any sort of compromise from fair play. The importance of this task force is to optimise the knowledge and expertise of the different commissions and conduct detailed risk assessments to identify specific individual athletes, groups or entire gyms to target in its intelligence testing programme. This includes individual athletes tested on their ranking and performance if there are suspicions on performance or weight loss, specific information and intelligence gathered from the various analyses of any confidential information communicated to IFMA through the ‘Whistle Blower Box’, which has played an important part in facilitating an open channel for reporting any ethical breaches.
One of the major successes was in 2018 when an entire gym in Kazakhstan was eliminated with the coach receiving a lifelong ban from recognised sport activities. He had in some cases, unknown to the athlete practitioners, supplied various prohibited substances and had also supplied these substances to athletes which were not involved in competitive sport. The entire gym was tested and resulted in 8 adverse analytical findings. Over the last two years, many specific tests have been done to identify the cheaters and protect the clean athletes.
This has also been extended to the youth with great results. In 2019, the efforts have been successful also with the important cooperation with WADA and the ITA from which education has been included as an important tool and using the perpetrators as an example for others.
IFMA President, Dr. Sakchye Tapsuwan stated, “IFMA will continue to protect the sport not just on but also off the field of play, and that the IFMA intelligence task force may statistically bring the overall percentage of positive test up, but it is far more important to IFMA to ensure that we catch as many of the bad elements and eliminate them from the sport.”
While IFMA continues its fight against doping on multi-levels from offering values based education programmes starting from the youth through to its elite level to target testing out of competition and its registered testing pool, the governing body does not shy away from an escalated number in the annual WADA report as it is proof positive of the concept “The more we catch, the more we clean” as stated by, Dr. Erdogan Aydin, Chair of IFMA Medical Commission.
The chair of the IFMA Task Force, General Lucas Managuelod, stated, “We must all work together. IFMA will continue instilling a culture of Clean Sport. For now, we must take as many bad elements out of the system and IFMA will continue to run prevention programs, its Clean Sport curriculum and in the end, it is only a very small number of athletes who cheat. The IFMA majority value Clean Sport and integrity and are anti-doping advocates.”