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Nicole Sapstead on the UK Sport International Leadership Programme

Nicole Sapstead, UK Anti-Doping Director of Operations, previews the UK Sport Fifth International Leadership Programme.

Friday will see the coming together of representatives from some of the key fields in the sporting landscape for the first module of the fifth International Leadership Programme, run by UK Sport. I am greatly looking forward to being involved in this year’s line up as it presents the opportunity to work with and share expertise with a number of different sports.

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Since the inception of UK Anti-Doping in December 2009, our remit has broadened dramatically. Today, more than ever, we are working directly with National Governing Bodies to ensure the message of clean sport is being filtered through to athletes competing at all levels and to date we have seen excellent examples of how this is proving effective.

With London 2012 just around the corner, our work is more important than ever. UK Anti-Doping places great emphasis on prevention, rather than just prosecution, and our education team has been working with National Governing Bodies to create a new programme reaching beyond just the athletes, to those supporting them behind the scenes. It is important to remember that anti-doping is all of our responsibilities.

Alongside our partners in sport, we have also formed invaluable links with law enforcement agencies; not only enabling us to acquire information relating to possession, trafficking and administration of prohibited substances by athletes and their support personnel but also to address the fight against doping on a global level. We are an intelligence-led operation, using the evidence we have available to us from a plethora of sources to inform our day–to-day operations, from education through to testing. Our testing is becoming more unpredictable and targeted and ultimately more effective. The message to athletes, both nationally and internationally is that doping will not be tolerated; if you are cheating or intending to cheat then you run a high risk of being caught.

We are also working closely with sports, the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations and LOCOG to ensure that the UK delivers a robust pre-Games testing programme. For those coming to London from abroad, we will shortly be unveiling our international anti-doping campaign, run in association with these key partners as well as the Department of Culture, Media, Olympics and Sport and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

London 2012 provides the opportunity to create a legacy, not just in sport but also anti-doping; a legacy that will be carried into the next Games and major sporting events across the globe. I have already begun work with those in Rio, gearing up to the 2016 Olympics, in an effort to share our expertise and learning.

The nation is looking for Team GB to prove they are a force to be reckoned with at London 2012, and for us, that extends to the world of anti-doping. The UK are leaders in promoting doping-free sport and we want the public to have confidence that our athletes are the cleanest for today, tomorrow and for the future.

Launched in 2006, the ILP is one of several UK Sport people development programmes and is part of UK Sport’s commitment to ensure that the UK is able to contribute to the development and governance of international sport. The programme is designed to equip participants with the skills they need to become effective cross-cultural communicators able to operate successfully on the international stage and build relationships with International Federations and other key international sporting organisations. The induction module takes place on Friday 16 September 2011 at Lords Cricket Ground and provides an opportunity for the group to meet for the first time and prepare for the year ahead.

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