UKAD Athlete Commission member Jo Calvino shares anti-doping experience with The British Athletes Commission for new athletes joining World Class Programmes

The next few months will see an influx of new athletes joining World Class Programmes of various sports for the start of the new Olympic and Paralympic cycle. This week weightlifter and UKAD Athlete Commission member Jo Calvino spoke to The British Athletes Commission.

Jo discussed the importance of developing an understanding of anti-doping rules and procedures, and outlined the help that is on hand for athletes.

Original source: The British Athletes Commission

“It’s always exciting when you are recognised for your performances, when all the hard work and effort day after day pays off, and you are selected to the performance squad in your sport. However, with that comes a higher level of responsibility, and a need to thoroughly understand the requirements and obligations of an elite athlete.

UKAD athlete commission member Jo Calvino
Jo Calvino is a 21 times British National Weightlifting Champion.


“Anti-doping awareness is just one of these responsibilities, but it can be the most important one, not only in competition but as part of your everyday routines as well. It’s also your responsibility as an elite athlete to promote fair and clean performance in your sport.

“UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) is the body which oversees and coordinates testing in the UK, meaning that all World Class Programme athletes can be subject to out of competition testing under UKAD’s rules. You may already have some awareness or experiences of anti-doping and the drug testing requirements. At first it can all feel overwhelming, with the need to fill out forms and have information to hand, but it does become a familiar process over time.

“I cannot express enough the importance of keeping up to date and knowledgeable on all things anti-doping, ranging from the prohibited list and checking any medications or supplements, through to the procedures to complete a test. 

“The good thing is there are some great support tools to help you understand and check if you aren’t sure. UKAD has online education courses that can help you, your parents/guardians and coaches to all improve your individual and collective knowledge.

“It’s essential that those supporting you understand the importance of anti-doping as much as you do, and I would advise you to utilise your sport’s anti-doping lead or team doctor if you have any questions.

“If you do need to take medication you can check if it’s ok on the Global DRO platform, or if it’s a supplement, always check for the ‘Informed Sport’ logo and make sure the brand is approved. If ever in doubt or unsure, do not use them; remember you are 100% responsible for what goes into your body.

“Some further top tips to help you: 

  • Always have some form of ID with you, as this is important for completing the paperwork.
  • If you are on any medication, keep a note of this on your phone or in your training diary; this is always helpful to have to hand if and when you do get tested. 
  • If you are on the Whereabouts programme, set reminders for submission dates in your phone and don’t leave it to the last minute in case there are any submission issues.
  • If you are unclear of the process at any stage, always ask for it to be explained again. This is not a problem and it’s always better to be clear before starting any processes. Particularly in your first few tests, the whole procedure can be scary and nerve-racking so take your time and remember the testers are not there to catch you out, they are there to help keep sport fair and clean, just like us athletes.
  • At the end of a test you will always have an option to provide feedback and this is really important to help UKAD maintain effective processes and good experiences, so whether it’s good or bad, your feedback matters.
  • I always kept a log of when and where I got tested and always kept a file of the paperwork from tests themselves.

“Overall whilst it may seem like a lot of information to remember and provide, if you have this stored in your kit bag or on your phone, this will make the form filling and process a lot easier, and over time doing a test will feel routine.

“Keeping up to date is so much easier now with the power of social media, so give UKAD a follow (Instagram and Twitter: @ukantidoping), and you will be well on your way to keeping updated and informed.”