The 135th IOC Session this afternoon received comprehensive updates on anti-doping activities from the International Testing Agency (ITA) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
ITA’s strong education programme at Lausanne 2020
Addressing the Session, the Chair of the ITA, Valérie Fourneyron, elaborated on the ITA’s anti-doping programme currently in place at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020. During the Games period, 180 samples will be collected across 16 disciplines at 81 events. She also pointed out that the Agency was implementing new digital tools and solutions, allowing for a paperless doping control process with the aim to make them standard practice in Tokyo.
In its efforts to promote clean sport among the young generation of athletes, the ITA will set up and run the Real Sport Lab – an interactive experience that enables learning through workshop-composed simulations. The sessions are designed to provide athletes with a first exposure of the testing process that they will inevitably experience either during the YOG or soon in their athletic career. The Real Sport Lab experience complements the WADA outreach activities taking place at the two Youth Olympic Village sites in Lausanne and St Moritz with the support of ITA personnel.
“Athletes themselves should spread the word that doping can harm a sporting career and health, and that a lack of knowledge on doping could lead to inadvertent doping,” said Dr Fourneyron.
Getting ready for Tokyo 2020
The ITA Chair also gave an overview of the anti-doping programme that the ITA has put together for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The ITA, in cooperation with Tokyo 2020, the Japanese Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) and the Japanese authorities, will manage and oversee testing operations to ensure the quality and quantity of tests in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. In total, some 6,200 samples are expected to be collected during the Games across 33 sports, 50 disciplines and 339 events.
Most importantly, the ITA will be coordinating the most comprehensive pre-Games testing programme ever conducted prior to an Olympic Games edition. For the first time, the IOC’s testing authority in Tokyo will be extended to eight weeks before Games time, thereby increasing testing opportunities. The ITA will also take an active role as a member of the Steering Committee of the WADA Working Group for the dried blood spot testing method, a scientific initiative that will bring more efficiency to the collection and detection of samples. To supplement the programme, in October last year the IOC asked for a comprehensive long-term storage plan to be developed.
It committed USD 5 million to finance long-term storage of the samples collected by anti-doping organisations during the pre-Olympic Games testing periods for later re-analysis.
In Tokyo, the ITA will also implement independent results management and related disciplinary activities, as well as providing state-of-the-art IT solutions from sample collection and whereabouts information collection.
The IOC Session heard the report of newly elected WADA President Witold Bańka.
Reflecting on the fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport held in Katowice, Poland, in November, Mr Bańka highlighted the strong spirit of cooperation that had led to the approval of the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards, as well as the consensus around the need for all stakeholders involved in the fight against doping to bring all perpetrators to account, without limitation.
During his report, the WADA President thanked the IOC for committing to additional funding for WADA.
“Regarding funding, one very pleasant surprise that was announced on the first day of the World Conference was President Bach’s declaration to make an additional IOC contribution to anti-doping of up to USD 10 million,” said Mr Bańka.
The IOC’s additional funds are due to comprise the following:
• USD 5 million to finance long-term storage of the samples collected by anti-doping organisations during the pre-Olympic Games testing periods for later re-analysis
• USD 2.5 million towards WADA’s science budget to build on the success of the ongoing research programme, provided governments of the world match that amount; and
• another USD 2.5 million to a joint programme with governments to further strengthen the successful work of WADA’s Intelligence and Investigations Department.
Touching on the recent decision by the WADA Executive Committee to unanimously endorse the recommendation made by WADA’s independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) that RUSADA be declared non-compliant with the Code for a period of four years, Mr Bańka said: “While recognising that reasonable people can disagree on such a polarising topic, WADA remains convinced that it was the right recommendation; that the proposed consequences punish the guilty but not the innocent by being tough on the Russian authorities while protecting the rights of clean athletes around the world, including Russian athletes who can demonstrate that they are not involved in any way in the non-compliance.”
With regard to the allegations concerning the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), the WADA President recalled that WADA’s Intelligence and Investigations Department was already aware of the allegations and continues to pursue its inquiries regarding potential breaches of the World Anti-Doping Code.
As regards the specific allegations regarding doping by weightlifters in Thailand, which were new and of great concern, Mr Bańka said that WADA was following up with the IWF, the Doping Control Agency of Thailand and other stakeholders to gain a clearer picture of the situation. He reiterated that WADA would take any action that may be warranted if breaches of the Code by individuals or anti-doping organisations were established.
The IOC issued a statement on this issue on 5 January, in which it reiterated its confidence in WADA’s procedures to monitor the compliance of the IWF, and also announced the creation of a Disciplinary Commission, chaired by IOC EB member Denis Oswald, to immediately follow up on the doping confession by the Olympic bronze medallist from London 2012, and her entourage.