WADA cites near col­lapse of anti-dop­ing pro­gram at Rio Games

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

The World Anti-Dop­ing Agency has de­tailed se­ri­ous fail­ings of dop­ing con­trol man­age­ment at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, say­ing the sys­tem was only saved from col­laps­ing by the “enor­mous re­source­ful­ness and good­will” of some key staff.

In a 55-page re­port from its in­de­pen­dent ob­server team led by Bri­tish lawyer Jonathan Tay­lor, WADA said the lo­gis­ti­cal is­sues which put a strain on the test­ing process were “fore­see­able and en­tirely avoid­able” dur­ing the games in Au­gust.

The re­port blamed a lack of co­or­di­na­tion, bud­get cut­backs, ten­sion be­tween the lo­cal or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee and Brazil’s anti-dop­ing agency, and in­ad­e­quate train­ing for the prob­lems that in­cluded days when only half of the out-of-com­pe­ti­tion sam­ples could be col­lected in the ath­letes vil­lage.

The re­port, which was re­leased by the Mon­treal-based agency on Thurs­day, said the sam­ple col­lec­tion process in the vil­lage was so strained that it came “close to break­ing point.”

In an­other key fail­ure, the re­port said no out-of-com­pe­ti­tion test­ing was con­ducted in soc­cer and “lit­tle or no in-com­pe­ti­tion blood test­ing” in some high risksports, in­clud­ing weightlift­ing.

Dop­ing was heav­ily in the spot­light in the months lead­ing up to the Rio Games, with al­le­ga­tions of state-spon­sored dop­ing in Rus­sia lead­ing to sanc­tions against some Rus­sian ath­letes and the retest­ing of 840 sam­ples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics bar­ring dozens of other ath­letes from com­pet­ing in Brazil.

Dur­ing the Rio Games, seven ath­letes in four sports — weightlift­ing, cy­cling, swim­ming and track and field — were sanc­tioned for dop­ing of­fenses. The seven in­cluded one medal­ist — weightlifter Iz­zat Ar­tykov of Kyr­gyzs­tan, who was stripped of a bronze in the men’s 69-kilo­gram di­vi­sion.

WADA said the role of its ob­server team is to help in­still con­fi­dence in the qual­ity, ef­fec­tive­ness and re­li­a­bil­ity of the anti-dop­ing pro­gram for the Olympics, and to make rec­om­men­da­tions for im­prove­ments.

Richard Bud­gett, the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee’s med­i­cal di­rec­tor, said the re­port showed “the in­tegrity of the pro­gram was en­sured de­spite some chal­lenges the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee had to over­come . ... such as a lack of re­sources and trained vol­un­teers and staff.”

He said the re­port’s rec­om­men­da­tions would be stud­ied by the IOC and passed on to a new in­de­pen­dent test­ing body that is be­ing set up ahead of the 2018 Win­ter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Many of the rec­om­men­da­tions re­lated to train­ing and treat­ment of vol­un­teers, proper at­ten­tion to rosters and pro­to­col, more lead­time for dop­ing con­trol of­fi­cers in the venues and bet­ter lo­gis­tics and equip­ment to lo­cate ath­letes for out-of-com­pe­ti­tion test­ing.

Poor plan­ning, trans­port is­sues and a lack of cater­ing for chap­er­ones re­sulted in a higher-thanex­pected rates of ab­sences, adding to the bur­den on dop­ing con­trol of­fi­cers and other del­e­gates.

A to­tal of 3,237 ath­letes from 137 coun­tries were tested dur­ing the games, rep­re­sent­ing 28.6 per­cent of the 11,303 ath­letes who par­tic­i­pated. Of those, 2,611 — or 23.1 per­cent — were tested once, 527 were tested twice, 81 were tested three times and one was tested six times.

Some prob­lems out­lined by WADA’s ob­servers:

— There were al­most 500 fewer tests con­ducted than or­ga­niz­ers had planned dur­ing the games. The sam­ples taken in­cluded 4,037 urine tests, 411 blood tests and 434 blood plus ABP or ABP blood tests for a to­tal of 4,882, sig­nif­i­cantly short of the 5,380 tar­geted.

— Data en­try er­rors led to nearly 100 sam­ples an­a­lyzed by the anti-dop­ing lab­o­ra­tory not be­ing matched to an ath­lete. WADA said about 40 per­cent of those were be­cause of the record­ing of an in­cor­rect bot­tle code in the com­puter sys­tem, but noted that Rio or­ga­niz­ers as­sisted the IOC in cor­rect­ing the er­rors so the sam­ples could be matched to ath­letes and their test­ing his­to­ries could be up­dated.

— The ex­pected daily max­i­mum of 350 urine sam­ples was never reached dur­ing the games. The high­est daily to­tal was 307 on Aug. 11, but on the ma­jor­ity of days, fewer than 200 urine sam­ples were re­ceived.

— Blood test­ing sec­tions were un­der­uti­lized, with some shifts at the lab­o­ra­tory hav­ing no blood sam­ples to an­a­lyze at the be­gin­ning of the games.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.