Olympics-COVID Reduces Hit Anti-Doping Program at Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics’ anti-doping certification has been reduced by COVID-19, but the core management team responsible for delivering drug-free games remains, the director of the International Testing Institute (ITA) told Reuters. ..

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will also be affected by a 20% reduction in international observer (IO) teams from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“The IOC very well understood that we couldn’t make a joke about some of the key features needed at the Games. Fortunately, we weren’t significantly affected,” said ITA Executive Director. Ben Cohen said.

“There were many accreditations for experts from different national institutions that we would like to invite to participate in the execution of the program, and they failed, but fortunately for the core ITA team this was maintained ..

“There is a team that was initially decided, and there are more than 25 people on site.”

Wada’s presence at the Tokyo Olympics will also be reduced by reducing the number of observer teams from 10 to 8 and the abolition of educational programs.

“The IO team is confident that the IO team can play an important role in this unique situation,” WADA told Reuters by email.

The Tokyo Olympics were the first Olympics in which anti-doping was fully controlled by an independent body, and the ITA was previously run by a host organizing committee supported by the International Olympic Committee and its national anti-doping agency. Replaces the settings.

COVID-19 has presented many challenges to ITA, especially with regard to out-of-competition testing at competitions.

Athletes were only allowed to enter the village five days before the event, which could spread throughout Japan and was a logistical headache for doping managers.

“It will be a challenge for us,” Cohen said. “I think the complexity surrounding COVID is whether we can circulate.

“In a normal Olympics, 90% of athletes are in the village, which makes pre-competition testing easier.”

No holes

Both ITA and WADA ensure that there are no holes in the test during the important preparation period of the competition.

The Tokyo 2020 Pre-Game Expert Group, led by ITA, conducted a risk assessment of athletes who may compete in Tokyo and issued approximately 26,000 test recommendations to anti-doping organizations.

All 33 Olympic sports were included in the review and the report was published more than 6 months before the start of the game set on July 23.

According to ITA, with comprehensive reviews and early issuance of recommendations, this is the most extensive pre-game anti-doping program ever implemented.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, the pre-match anti-doping program started one month before the opening ceremony and consisted of only 1,500 recommendations for seven areas at risk.

Tests at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak have dropped dramatically, but have almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.

According to the latest WADA figures, there were 13,918 out-of-competition tests recorded in March, double the 6,868 done in the same month last year and surpass the pre-pandemic 13,139 counted in 2019. I will.

These numbers will definitely increase as the unprocessed portion of the Olympic qualifying puts more pressure on pre-game testing.

“The critical period will now continue into the Games,” Cohen said. “We know that we need to target the right athletes, the right sports, the right areas and work with national anti-doping agencies.

“Resources are limited, time is limited, and the importance of qualifying is very important.

“We can’t miss it there. We need to be very focused and tested with the right athletes.”

Steve Keating