Doha, 13 January 2021 - The recently-created sports nutrition supplements Taskforce held its first meeting (by videoconference) to consider the impact of the current situation and the health of athletes by assessing the risks of use of sports nutrition supplements by Qatari based athletes as well as recreational athletes.
The committee, which was held at the request of the CEO of Aspetar Dr Abdulaziz Jaham al-Kuwari, included many prominent figures from various sectors such as Jassim al-Buenain, Secretary General of QOC, Nasser al-Saad, Director Qatar Anti-doping Commission, Abdulrahman al-Dosary, Adviser to Minister of Culture and Sports (Ministry of Culture and Sport), Dr Aisha al-Ansari (Director Pharmacy and Drug Control, MoPH), Shaima al-Khaldi (Director Scientific Support, Aspetar) and Dr Daniel Kings (Director Clinical Projects, Aspetar).
Many topics related to the consumption of sports nutrition supplements and Qatar regulations were deliberated during the meeting. Consequently, several significant decisions were made for further discussion on this topic. Sports and health local authorities expressed their concerns at this challenging time aiming to proactively safeguard the health of all sports practitioners, and to safeguard public health in general.
The objectives of this high-level taskforce are to review and propose changes to the current practices in the areas of importation, classification, quality control certification and retail access to safer sports supplements in the state of Qatar. The goal of these being to create a roadmap that will ultimately protect the health of all athletes in the Qatar community who consume these supplements.
The task force group would activate various initiatives outlined in a co-operative way prior to Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup to safeguard, educate athletes and the physically active public community who take sports supplements in Qatar.
Dr Abdulaziz Jaham al-Kuwari, Aspetar CEO, said: “With a mandate by Amiri decree to protect the health of athletes, for several years Aspetar has embarked on a mission to understand and improve the knowledge and practices on sports supplements use in Qatar. Most recently, this has included instruction to lead a national task force on improving access to safer sports supplementation in the State of Qatar. The first session of this taskforce was held this week”.
Jassim al-Buainain Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee, said: “As a former athlete, I appreciate and support this effort. For professional athletes, this does not constitute an obstacle, because they are aware about consuming supplements and we educate them continuously, but it seems different for the public that flock to the gym every day. At QOC, our crucial role is to promote health awareness related campaigns on the sidelines of championships and community events. I think it’s the optimal time to discuss all ideas and have a proposal to be executed as a binding law will help protecting our athletes”.
Commenting about the proposal, the Ministry of culture and sports representative, Abdul Rahman al-Dosary, said: “our concerns in Qatar is the community and people who practising sports in the gymnasiums, number of gyms increased dramatically, in 2014 there were 86 in Qatar only, now there are over than 500 centres in the country. There are many people who consumes supplements in these gyms without supervision and control over what has been sold to them and without awareness of their impacts and best way to use, which worried us.
He added: “Of course, the Ministry of culture and Sports gives all the support for the success of this project, we seek to raise the awareness about the associated risks, and to issue regulations that control their circulation and sale.”
Nasser al-Saad, Director Qatar Anti-doping Commission, specified that the use of supplements has increased dramatically, some are taking information from untrusted people in the gym, and our role is to educate athletes. “We are working with the Qatar Olympic Committee on the issue of doping control and we will provide you with useful statistics and data at the upcoming meetings.”
At the session a number of areas were identified and agreed on to be more closely reviewed by the panel of partners and Dr Abdulaziz al-Kuwari stressed that the project is a national project and not only concerns those parties presented at this meeting. Over a series of sessions, a full implementation plan will be developed for discussion on these areas. Upon refinement and approval, changes should then be implemented ahead of 2022. Further announcements will be made accordingly.