Tygart: coach athletes about doping and drugs
There is a "two-fold worry" surrounding doping in sports in South-east Asia, according to Travis Tygart.
The first involves the lack of information and education available to athletes.
Citing the example of Vietnamese gymnast Thi Nga Thuong Do, who was suspended from the 2008 Beijing Olympics after testing positive for a banned substance that is used to control premenstrual tension, Tygart said the lack of education was a "concern".
Speaking to the media at the Anti-Doping Intelligence and Investigation Seminar yesterday, the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said: "You want to have education available to ensure that athletes aren't using supplements and other medications that are prohibited in our rules.
"But here's someone who's not intentionally trying to cheat, but who gets a suspension because the systems aren't in place to give them the best information that's available."
Another worry is that drug-testing in some countries is not as stringent as the standard set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), although this is not limited within Asia alone.
While Tygart praised the decision to implement blood testing at the upcoming South-east Asia (SEA) Games, which will be held in Singapore from June 5 to 16, he stressed that the war against doping in sport has to continue beyond the "impetus" of the Games.
"It's about sustaining the commitment, and it is a long commitment," said the 43-year-old, who added that the USADA still had areas to improve despite being in the business of drug testing for 15 years.
He said: "It's about having the commitment and courage to sustain the effort that is going to be maintained, and being willing to make tough decisions."
Blood testing was implemented during the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, and this year's SEA Games will be the first time it will feature in the biennial event.
Director of the South-east Asia Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (Searado) Gobinathan Nair said plans to sustain anti-doping efforts beyond the SEA Games are under way.
Comparing anti-doping efforts to the recent drug bust that was the result of a joint operation between Singapore and Malaysia, Nair said: "We will see the same thing going on in anti-doping, where there is a greater degree of information sharing."
Tygart is heartened by the progress made in the war on doping.
"What we saw in cycling was a culture where you had no choice but to cheat, or you lose," he said.
"And now that culture is shifting where the bias is in favour of the clean athlete - the clean athlete can win and there's hope that they can be successful without having to cheat."