Some of the recent back-page headlines have shown that, like it or not, anti-doping is part and parcel of being an elite athlete, says Martin Corry.
Whether it’s chasing a rugby ball for 80 minutes or running 200 metres in 20 seconds, the responsibility to compete clean remains a constant. I believe it is absolutely essential - this is why I applied to sit on UK Anti-Doping’s new Athlete Committee, and also why I was delighted to be successful.
It is vital that there are visible and open means of communication between athletes and authorities and, recognising this, UK Anti-Doping has made a real statement of intent by establishing the Athlete Committee - they want to work with us and not against us.
Since retiring from rugby in 2009, I have joined Premier Rugby Ltd in an advisory role and also sit on the Rugby Union Illicit Drugs Forum, which has introduced illicit drug education, testing, sanctioning and rehabilitation to support the Rugby Football Union's anti-doping policy, experience I believe will stand me in good stead as I take on this new challenge.
In 17 years of playing senior rugby, I was subject to regular testing not only domestically but internationally as well. As far as I was concerned it went with the territory and I was safe in the knowledge that I was being true to myself, to my team and to my sport.
However I am equally aware of the pressures players face in training, in matches and in the day to day demands of being a professional. With the correct education and the right approach, we can go some way to ensuring that anti-doping does not add to these pressures.
My own experience of captaining both club and country also ensures that I know what is required when acknowledging both sides of the coin. It is part of a skipper’s duties to represent your team mates to the management and vice versa, and I believe this is an apt comparison to make when considering the role of the Committee
Those selected represent a real cross-section of elite sport. It will be very interesting to share experiences and gain a different insight outside of rugby union, particularly from an Olympic and Paralympic perspective. It will also be great to discuss how the subject of anti-doping is best addressed.
Athletes need to know that anti-doping is a two-way process and the Committee is one way of ensuring this message gets across.
I am very much looking forward to meeting my fellow members at our first gathering in August. Even though we are yet to sit down and start our discussions, I already know that there is one thing we all have in common - we are passionate about protecting sport, not just our own but in general.
Doping is cheating and there is simply no place for cheats. But on another level, it is only right that those who are expected to adhere to a rigorous anti-doping programme are given the opportunity to contribute opinion on what it entails. I feel privileged to play my part.
Martin Corry captained England's rugby union team from 2005-2007 and was a member of the World Cup winning squad of 2003. During his time with Leicester Tigers, the club won five league titles and two European Cups. He also won six caps with the British and Irish Lions.