Statement of Philippine Olympic Committee President Ricky Vargas on Kiefer Ravena issue
I am saddened to hear of the FIBA suspension of national basketball player Kiefer Ravena after having tested positive for a prohibited substance.
While we in the POC remain steadfast in our support of the IOC’s uncompromising stance on the use of performance-enhancing substances, I understand that Kiefer took a pre-workout drink, completely unaware that it contained an ingredient that would result in this unfortunate situation.
The said drink is available over the counter and is sold freely to the public.
This is obviously an innocent act by a national player who has never been known to act in defiance of any rules. However, I understand that WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) provisions are very stringent on these matters.
I therefore appeal to all national sports associations to be constantly aware of the dire consequences of a lack of awareness and education on what substances are to be avoided.
Recently, I met with PSC chairman Butch Ramirez, and we jointly decided to ramp up our anti-doping program starting with random testing of our national athletes even outside of competition environment.
We also decided that POC and PSC will partner for a massive information campaign on this issue.
I empathize with what Kiefer and his family are going through at this time and I continue to hold him in high esteem. I know he will come out a better man and a better athlete after this.
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