Alana Boyd has opened up on her experience with drug testing over her illustrious pole vaulting career on Episode Two of Sport Insights with Emageo.
The Australian record holder and triple Olympian discussed in depth an athlete’s experience at the elite level.
During the chat, Boyd describes what it’s like inside the room during a test.
The now retired 35-year-old recalled her nervousness ahead of her first test and how it became the norm as her career went on.
“I remember being quite nervous for it because, I guess, it’s quite invasive,” Boyd told Sport Insights with Emageo. “Sometimes you do get a little bit of stage fright. It is a necessary part of the sport. By the end you are just kind of on autopilot. Go in, get it done and you’re out within 10 minutes, including the paperwork.
“You do get used to it. You begin to realise that they do that is their (the testers) job and it’s nothing they haven’t seen before either. “You don’t want to spend any more time in the drug testing room than you have to.”
Boyd explained she was not put on the whereabouts list for out-of-competition testing until after her 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal in Delhi.
But then she noticed a huge difference in how frequently she was tested, depending on where she lived.
“I was probably subject to more whereabouts testing in Brisbane compared to when I moved back to the coast in the last couple of years of my career, which to me seems a little odd because I probably had the best years of my career in the last two years yet I probably had the least testing that I ever had,” she said. “Maybe it was because I lived in a regional area and my testing time was usually between 6 and 7 in the morning so that I knew I was going to home, they would just have to wake me up. Maybe the testers had to come from Brisbane and it was a bit of an early start.
“I think that might be a bit of a skew. They have to test a certain number of people but they should be getting a good cross section, particularly those out-of-competition tests.
“I don’t want to create any controversy but it has been something other athletes have said in the past and it was obvious to me. I moved up the Sunshine Coast after the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I don’t actually know if I got a whereabouts test. They rocked up at the track one day but I don’t think they ever actually came out here, which to me seemed odd because I would probably get one a month in Brisbane.”
Boyd also admitted it was very easy to get caught out for forgetting to update testers on your whereabouts.
“There were times honestly when I forgot and I was not at my house in that time period like I was supposed to be,” she said. “Luckily for me, I never had a missed test. But it is something that can be very innocent.”
But Boyd was supportive of the strict testing regimes and requirements.
“I believe there should be a level playing field and there shouldn’t be any drugs in sport,” Boyd said.
“I don’t think you are every going to eradicate drugs from sport in general ever because people are always going to be that step ahead of the drug testers who then find tests to test for these new drugs that people are using.
“The more that they can test, the more that they do test and they are visible and out there doing that and educating people, the cleaner the sport is going to be.”
— Sally Pearson OAM (@sallypearson) April 3, 2016
Listen to episode one of Sport Insights with Emageo here.