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Raising and harmonising the standards of doping controls worldwide: one year of the ITA IDCO Training Program

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Launched in July 2020, the ITA IDCO Training & Certification Program aims at raising the quality and harmonising protocols for doping controls, adding a new advanced training for international DCOs collecting samples on international-level athletes and during international sports competitions. Developed by some of the world’s leading anti-doping specialists, the program provides athletes with the guarantee that the sample collection process they are subject to is carried out by a trained professional according to international best practice and in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

Adapted to the challenges of the worldwide pandemic, this multi-stage program involves online learning, expert video tutorials and a final live virtual training day. “We launched the IDCO Training Program, with its digital blended learning approach, in the middle of the pandemic. But the need for a coherent and professional education for DCOs worldwide had been identified much earlier to guarantee that international-level athletes are tested under harmonious procedures wherever they are, whatever sport they compete in. The ITA, as an independent organisation with the knowledge of world-leading experts in the delivery of testing programs, is the ideal institution to develop this platform and with the overwhelmingly positive feedback received from graduates and partner organisations, we are motivated to keep leading the way together with our partner Regional and National Anti-doping agencies all across the globe”, says Benjamin Cohen, Director General of the ITA.

In its first year of launch, the ITA IDCO Training Program delivered in collaboration with RADOs, NADOs and Sample Collection Agencies around the world has exceeded expectations, with over 500 DCOs from 67 countries having graduated as ITA-Certified IDCOs. In preparation for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) had a majority of their DCOs advance their education with a full IDCO certification. Another 400 DCOs are expected to complete the training in the next half of 2021 and the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) has already signed up its DCOs to complete the certification ahead of the Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022.

“I am very delighted to see the evolvement of the ITA IDCO Certificate Program. Through this program, JADA DCOs had the opportunity to gain more confidence in conducting their mission for international events, including the Tokyo 2020 Games. I can emphasise that the significance of the ITA IDCO Program ensures a higher standard and consistency maintained across the world for the protection of clean athletes. JADA stays committed to supporting to stage Tokyo 2020 as clean, fair Games by closely collaborating with the ITA and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee”, says Professor SUZUKI Hidenori, M.D., Chair of JADA.
With an international approach to raising doping testing quality through advanced education, the ITA thanks the program’s Official Partner, Berlinger Special AG, for their continued support. Berlinger’s sponsorship presents a unique opportunity for the international DCOs worldwide to benefit from free access to the IDCO Training and Certification Program.“The success of the IDCO-Program is remarkable and we are proud that all graduates are trained also on our state-of-the-art equipment”, says Andrea Berlinger, owner and President of the Berlinger Group. “As a manufacturer, we pursue the highest standards for our sample collection solutions and it is safe to say, that the ITA IDCO Training Program raises the bar for doping controls internationally. We congratulate all newly graduated IDCOs and hope that many more will follow their lead in the future.”Reactions from participating organisations reflect the spirit and passion participants were demonstrating throughout the training sessions. The ITA will therefore continue to evolve and expand the IDCO Training Program determined to promote the delivery of quality testing across the world.
“It was my extreme pleasure to work along with the ITA and provide my Doping Control Team with the IDCO training experience. ITA was extremely helpful every step of the way and I would definitely recommend other NADOs to consider this beneficial and unique program!”
– Petra Haven, Executive Director, Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission –
“Congratulations on the anniversary of the IDCO Training Program. I sincerely wish ITA huge success in its further development and elaboration. Investing in human capital is one of the key components of every success. I believe that this program will continue to enhance the testing quality delivered by international doping control officers across the world.”
– Shafag Huseynli, the CEO of Azerbaijan National Anti-Doping Agency –

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