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30.10.2013, 15:07
Working for a clean sport
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FEATURE: The independent EHF Anti-Doping Unit is at the forefront of maintaining handball as a clean sport. It controls and monitors but also educates athletes and raises awareness of anti-doping. But what does the EAU’s daily work actually look like? Eurohandball.com talked to Professor Hans Holdhaus
 

Working for a clean sport

There is always one message that Hans Holdhaus, the Head of the EHF Anti-Doping Unit, wants to bring across when talking about his daily work: The sport has to be clean.

Holdhaus has been involved in anti-doping measures and strategies for almost three decades. He was assigned with the task to come up with the national anti-doping strategy for Austria in the 1980s.

From 1992 until 2012 he served on the Medical Commission of the International Handball Federation. Since July 2012, he is the Head of the independent EHF Anti-Doping Unit.

"Generally, it is our task to implement the requirements we receive from the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA in European competitions in cooperation with the International Handball Federation. And that, of course, involves doping tests in and out of competition," Holdhaus (pictured right) explains.

"But the second field we work in is the field of education and information, and I think that’s even more important than the tests themselves.

"Thankfully handball is among the sports in which doping is not the biggest topic of all. But the danger is that it comes to certain carelessness from the players’ side.

"The player doesn’t want to dope at all, but at the same time he doesn’t know the rules inside out. So he, for example, takes some dietary supplement and suddenly becomes a doping case. And that’s the area in which we have to educate and inform."

Inform and educate

At the Women’s 19 EHF EURO 2013 in Denmark in August the EAU for the first time held anti-doping workshops with several of the participating nations.

"They all confirmed that they deem this form of education necessary, so we will continue going down this route," says Holdhaus.

"The personal talk with a player is just something very valuable. Especially when there is a certain lack of anti-doping information."

Positive feedback was also received on the anti-doping information that was given to the players on USB sticks. In the future this information will also be translated into different languages to bridge any kind of language barrier.

More than 100 tests have already been carried out this year – they all turned out to be negative – and more will follow in the coming months.

Knowing the whereabouts

When it comes to major tournaments like the Men’s EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark the EAU is informed every time on the participating teams’ whereabouts about half a year in advance. In the future the EAU will also collect whereabouts for the various national team week activities.

This guarantees that out of competition-tests can be conducted at any given time without further notice.

At the event itself the EAU independently determines when tests are going to be conducted. The players to be tested are selected by a random draw.

"It is also possible to target a specific player, but only if there is for example profound suspicion that the player in question has taken illegal substances," says Holdhaus.

In the future the EAU plans to provide even more information and make use of new media to bring it to the players.

And then there is the upcoming WADA Conference in November this year at which the new Anti-Doping-Code, valid from 2015, will be finalised.

"We just have to wait and see what kind of changes that brings for us and how we can then implement them in the best way possible," says Holdhaus.

For more information on the EAU contact

Nicole Krutz-Gundolf
(EHF Anti Doping Unit Manager)
Phone: +43-1-80151 148
E-mail: eau@eurohandball.com


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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