“Anti-Doping and Nutritional Supplements” Conference

The Cyprus Anti-Doping Authority (CyADA) along with the Athletic Schools of Nicosia, namely Engomi’s Gymnasium “Kyriacos Neokleous” and Kykkos B Lyceum organised a conference on “Anti-Doping and Nutritional Supplements” at the amphitheatre of the Cultural Centre at the European University of Cyprus on Wednesday, 22 November.  The conference was addressed not only to the students of Athletic Schools, but also to parents, and was organised within the framework of the collaboration between CyADA, the Ministry of Education and Culture and Athletic Schools. Representatives of Sports Federations attended the conference. An address to the Conference was delivered by Secondary Education Inspector for Physical Education, Kalli Hadjiiosif, while the programme also included three presentations.

President of the Cyprus Anti-Doping Authority Dr Michael Petrou was the first presenter and discussed “The Use of Nutritional Supplements by Athletes: Doping and Other Dangers”. Dr Petrou mentioned that athletes who use nutritional supplements often do so without fully understand or evaluate the benefits and possible dangers that may occur, and without the advice and guidance of an expert on sports nutrition. “The use of nutritional supplements involves dangers such as overdosing, lack of basic nutritional components and the intake of supplements that are contaminated with toxic or doping substances,” Dr Petrou stressed.

Dr Anastasios Theodorou, Lecturer in Biology of Exercise at the European University tackled the issue of “The Ergogenic Effect of Nutritional Supplements: From misinformation to scientific reality”, explaining the procedure through which the human body increases its power. He called upon today’s student-athletes to find the necessary elements that their bodies need, through a correct and balanced diet. Presenting recent scientific research, Dr Theodorou pointed out that “out of the hundreds of food supplements available on the market promising an increase in athletic performance, very few can actually achieve that and only under specific circumstances”.

Dr Antonis Alexopoulos, Lecturer in Sociology of Sports at the European University presented on “Nutritional Supplements: A Psychosocial Approach”, with reference to the profiles of people using nutritional supplements to enhance their athletic performance or their body image, and the decision-making process. “It is often the case that the decision to use nutritional supplements is the result of blind consumerism in combination with social factors such as advertising and promoting twisted information without any critical thought,” Dr Alexopoulos concluded.

The presentations were followed by a discussion between the speakers at the conference and the attendees including students, parents and teachers. The questions and answers that were given covered a whole spectrum of suggestions, as well as some more general information on anti-doping issues and the monitoring procedures in Cyprus and abroad. The three keynote speakers mentioned the importance of informing athletes correctly with regard to the use of nutritional supplements, stressing that, parents, sport trainers and coaches and scientists in the field of exercise should take on active roles towards this purpose.

In his concluding remarks at the conference, Dr Petrou thanked the Sports Athletic Schools of Nicosia for their cooperation and pointed out that “the Cyprus Anti-Doping Authority will continue its efforts along with the Ministry of Education and the Athletic Schools to sensitise young athletes, their coaches and parents with respect to the dangers that may occur from nutritional supplements, and to help them with the decision making process, thus reducing the possibility of the nutritional supplements containing doping or other toxic substances”.


Photo: Renos Pittalis, Director of Athletic School Engomi’s Gymnasium “Kyriakos Neocleous” and speakers Michael Petrou, Antonis Alexopoulos and Anastasios Theodorou