Muscat, april 25 – Doping is a menace that has plagued the world of sport for over three decades now and the fight to combat this scourge is still on.
As with most countries around the world, Oman is also an active participant when it comes to the adoption of anti-doping measures and has its share of contributions in this field. Shoaib al Zadjali is the shining light as far as Oman’s anti-doping community goes, with his achievements and experience of anti-dope testing over a period of time.
It is not everyday that one gets to rub shoulders and interact with the most successful Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, but Shoaib al Zadjali is one among the lucky few who have got this golden opportunity. Shoaib is a Doping Control Officer (DCO) and a highly experienced one at that having been part of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s team at the biggest sporting events on the planet. Shoaib has been part of the Anti-Doping team at three Olympics and three Asian Games. The Doha Asian Games of 2006 was his first assignment at the mega event. Two years later, he followed that up with his presence at the Beijing Olympics.
This was followed by the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics. In between, Shoaib honed his skills further at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou and the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Talking about the experience of interacting with Phelps, Zadjali said the legendary swimmer was very courteous and co-operative.
“I had to test him four times after he won the gold medals and it was quite a funny situation. But, he was really patient and was always smiling while we were going on with the testing,’’ he added.
Shoaib comes from a sporting background himself and in fact was a professional football player for Suhar Club from 1993 to 2004.
In the year 1998, Shoaib was also picked for the Oman national team when Ahmed Jowhari was the coach of the team.
The turning point in Shoaib’s life happened in the year 2001 when Wahid al Kharousi, who was the president of the Oman Sports Medicine Federation (OSMF) at that time, suggested that he do a course in sports medicine. Thus, started the journey for Shoaib and he has not looked back since then. The Suhar man, who works at the Ministry of Health, is the only doping control officer from the entire GCC who has been selected to the forthcoming Fifa World Cup in Russia. Shoaib is eagerly looking forward to the challenge of participating in the Fifa World Cup for the first time.