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Results pending from Pacific Games Council

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - All it took was for one Guam National Team athlete to test positive for a prohibited substance and local sports federations are more vigilant than ever to ensure players know what they can and cannot consume when competing. Guam Kayak and Canoe Federation president Joe John Mantanona says he is working to prevent another local athlete from testing positive for any prohibited substance.

"The WADA rules are very extensive and its overwhelming when you take a look at the entire rules and regulations that govern that body. You can imagine an athlete doesn't spend most of their time on WADA rules, they spend most of their time on perfecting their sport," he explained. A Guam paddler who was among dozens of national athletes randomly tested by the World Anti Doping Agency is still awaiting his fate from the pacific games council on possible sanctions after he tested positive for a prohibited substance during the recent Pacific Games.

"Sports supplements even that there is some ingredients inside there that can actually render you test positive and even over the counter drugs," said Team Guam women's volleyball John Lizama, who is among those in the sports community who believes more education is need when it comes to the WADA rules. "We here on Guam hardly had too many testing a lot because we are so far regionally and the competitions we compete in aren't as prestigious as the Olympics or World Championships, so most of the time WADA is focused on that but they started to branch out to the regions."

Lizama says he airs on the side of caution for his team banning them from even smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol a month before any competition. He says this recent incident should force more Guam athletes to learn the ins and outs of WADA.

"Is it going be fool proof, no, but at least we are on with enough information given by Guam National Olympic Committee and our federation and because now they know WADA is basically serious about testing," he stated.

In the meantime, Mantanona says he hopes to begin educational training on the WADA rules before next summer. "We are taking a proactive stance, we are going to be working with the GNOC in putting together educational courses for any individual, any athlete, any coach and manager that would like to be part of any future national team on the canoe levels," he said.

While Mantanona says they are still waiting for feedback from the Pacific Games Council, he does note sanctions would be imposed on the entire team. He said the athlete who admitted to using the prohibited substance may be banned from any national sport for up to three years, and the entire men's team may be disqualified from all the events they participated in, with further possibility of annulment.

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