The ITA concludes Tokyo 2020 pre-Games anti-doping program, reports 80% implementation rate of testing recommendations
With the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 starting in a little bit over a week, the ITA has already begun implementing its on-site anti-doping program for the event with the support of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Japanese Anti-Doping Agency (JADA). Both athletes that have already arrived in Japan and those who are bound to travel there soon are currently being tested. Together with the in-competition testing phase starting on 21 July, this constitutes the next stage of a comprehensive anti-doping program for the Games that marked its beginning in 2019. At that point in time, the ITA set up a pre-Games Expert Group, consisting of a pool of specialists from International Federations (IFs) – representing both team and individual summer Olympic sports – and National and Regional Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs/RADOs) representing all five world continents.
These experts undertook an extensive risk assessment on a large population of athletes that were likely to qualify for Tokyo 2020 from all 33 participating sports disciplines. It considered data such as participating countries, risks and history of doping as well as testing statistics in these countries, the physiological profile of the sport, individual data of the athletes, intelligence received, and other relevant factors. The outcome of this large-scale evaluation were over 25’000 recommendations that the expert group issued to concerned NADOs/RADOs and IFs all over the world with one objective: protecting the integrity of the Olympic Games by promoting a level-playing field and closing potential testing gaps for athletes carrying a certain elevated risk level in the crucial period ahead of the Games.
Since the recommendations were shared with the relevant organisations in December 2020, the ITA Expert Group has been regularly coming together to monitor their implementation, which was documented via a specifically designed digital sharing platform. Now, very close to the start of the Olympic Games, this first phase of the anti-doping program has been completed with a testing implementation rate of 80% on athletes that qualified for Tokyo 2020. This high outcome rate proves the motivation and willingness of anti-doping organisations across the globe to contribute to the common goal of a robust pre-Games testing framework despite the many challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, following a final monitoring session in the beginning of July, the ITA pre-Games Expert Group has shared additional testing recommendations with the ITA for more than 2’500 athletes across all sports that will flow into ITA’s Games-time test distribution plan to continue to avoid any potential gaps.
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