Life skills extend beyond the court

Monday, November 26, 2012

Even before an official game had been played, athletes competing at the 2012 Pacific Youth Championship were challenged to develop personally, not just physically, as all attended a workshop on Anti-Doping and HIV.

The junior’s knowledge was tested as ONOC’s (Oceania National Olympic Committee) Margaret Eastgate informed representatives of the realities of HIV.

‘We are all affected, HIV does not just affect you, but a whole community and even through to the tax payers for treatment – that is why we say we are all in this together’.

With a focus continually on applying life skills within the sporting paradigm: emphasis on trust, encouragement and teamwork were omnipresent.

Putting a lighthearted spin on such an issue is no easy task, but all involved left feeling positive and informed about the dangers of the transmitted virus.

With athletes set for transition into the senior teams and international competition, this is the first encounter many have come across the Anti-Doping testing process.

A Fijian representative was on hand to walk players through the strenuous guidelines, should they find themselves selected to provide a sample, including their rights as minors.

Although many seemed bewildered at the scientific and strict nature of the testing, the message was clear – complying with WADA’s (World Anti-Doping Association) ‘Play True Generation’ of clean athletes would ensure a successful competition for all individuals and teams.

With many of the athletes of student age, the information and interaction with other nations proved to be invaluable, further enriching the overall experience beyond the basketball court.

By Laura Mock - The Reporters' Academy