My Online Internship with VIRTUS and the Anti-Doping Code 2021

It was never my plan to intern online. As an active and communicative person by nature, I could never replace live communication with my colleagues in the office by talking to coworkers through a computer screen and emails. But today we have to adapt to any situations arisen, and find pluses in everything what brings changes. And as a part of my studies at the MSc Sport Business Management Course, I had to undertake a remote-based internship, and I chose to intern at VIRTUS.

What is VIRTUS?

VIRTUS, previously known as INAS, is the International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments. As a charity it was formed in 1986, started growing fast, and nowadays has members of more than 80 nations across the world. Every four years VIRTUS hosts the World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games, the world’s largest elite sports event for athletes with an intellectual impairment. VIRTUS’s vision is to provide athletes with an intellectual impairment across the world with the opportunity to compete in high –level competitions and achieve excellence in sport.


I chose interning at VIRTUS because I was always interested in the Paralympic Movement and the way sport serves as integration and inclusion, providing equal opportunities for every athlete to play and compete. By the moment of applying for this internship, I already had some experience in the Paralympic sport: I volunteered at the Summer World Special Olympic Games 2019 in Abu-Dhabi and was a Goalball Volunteer Activator at the Goalball UK. I had the interview with the VIRTUS Executive Director and was invited to be their intern. It is also worth mentioning that some of our previous course graduates successfully undertook their internships with VIRTUS, and this charity is a good partner of our course.

What are my intern duties?

My internship is fully remote-based and I communicate with my colleagues through emails, Zoom and phone calls. For this internship I am responsible for working with the VIRTUS Anti-Doping Policy and updating it in compliance with the WADA  Anti-Doping Code 2021.

The Anti-Doping Code is the core document that harmonizes anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organizations and among public authorities around the world. WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, as the biggest advocate  and protector of clean sport, updates the Code according to the changes happening in the world of sport, and requests all sport organisations to implement new Code changes into organisations’ anti-doping policies in compliance with the Code. In November 2019, WADA published the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code and now all sport organisations should have their anti-doping codes reviewed, updated and approved by WADA by January 1, 2021.

My main task is reviewing and updating the VIRTUS anti-doping policy, identifying the changes needed, liaising with WADA representatives and, finally submitting the new draft policy for WADA approval. Apart from that, I take part in organising webinars on anti-doping rules for VIRTUS’s member organisations, do some more reading about anti-doping in general, attend online-courses and webinars, organised by WADA. To my biggest surprise, the world of anti-doping turned out to be truly complicated but extremely interesting to explore. Especially if you already study or work in a sport industry, play sports professionally or as an amateur, or just watch it as a fan.

As a sport business management student, I am so glad to have chosen to intern at VIRTUS and find myself in the world of anti-doping, where I can learn more about the importance of clean sport and true play.

Written by #HallamInsider Zhanna Tlegenova