5,000 anti-doping tests to be conducted during Tokyo Games

5,000 anti-doping tests to be conducted during Tokyo Games. (credit IOC media)

Tokyo, (Samajweekly) The International Testing Agency (ITA) plans to conduct approximately 5,000 on-site tests as part of its anti-doping efforts during the Tokyo Olympic Games, starting July 23.

For these tests, 5,000 in-and out-of-competition urine and blood samples will be collected in collaboration with the organising committee for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA), the ITA informed the 138th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on Tuesday.

For Tokyo 2020, both the testing and the sanctioning components of the anti-doping system will be independent of the IOC.

The JADA lab will be conducting the actual tests. The ITA will be responsible for the results management of any Adverse Analytical Findings or other Anti-Doping Rule Violations and will process the resulting cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s Anti-doping Division (CAS ADD), which will handle the sanctioning process.

The sample collection and testing will be conducted with the support of an anti-doping workforce of 250 Doping Control Officers and 700 chaperones, the ITA informed in its update on anti-doping efforts for Tokyo Olympics.

All doping controls will be conducted in full respect of the appropriate safety and hygiene measures as described in the relevant IOC playbook, and in strict compliance with all regulations enacted by the Japanese health authorities to protect both athletes and the anti-doping workforce, IOC was informed.

With the COVID-19 regulations in place, the ITA has reworked the procedure for out-of-competition testing during the Games as the athletes’ stay in the Olympic Village and in Japan will be shortened.

The ITA is preparing to conduct an increased number of out-of-competition tests spread out beyond the Village, and has done some tests before the athletes left their country for the Games, the IOC was informed.

ITA said that since the postponement of the Games last year, it has recalibrated its efforts in 2020 and since December 2020 has “issued over 25,000 testing recommendations, making it the most extensive pre-Games anti-doping programme ever implemented for an edition of the Olympic Games”.

This first phase of the Tokyo 2020 anti-doping programme has been completed, with an implementation rate of 80 per cent for the qualified athletes, the ITA report claimed.

In order to store testing samples for 10 years as per the IOC decision in 2019, the ITA has established a highly-secured Centralised Long-Term Storage Facility. This has been fully operational since December 2020.

All anti-doping organisations can store all samples collected in the pre-Games period at this facility for 10 years, free of charge. They can also seek re-analysis of a sample at any time.