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News 11th April 2017

IPC praised, but Paralympic anti-doping hit by organisational failures

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has been praised for the organisation of the Rio 2016 Paralympic anti-doping programme, however its success was hampered by some of the organisational failures that dogged anti-doping at the Rio 2016 Olympics. “The anti-doping program, which was implemented and overseen by the IPC, was able to achieve a number of positive outcomes in the face of challenging circumstances in Rio,” said Michael Petrou, Chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Independent Observer (IO) team, which assessed the IPC programme, in a statement.  “The IPC should be commended for its anti-doping program at the Games and particularly for implementing a number of good practices that could serve as an example to other Anti-Doping Organizations and Major Event Organizations”.

However in line with its Report into the anti-doping programme at the Rio 2016 Olympics, the IO Report (PDF below) into the Rio 2016 Paralympic anti-doping programme listed a number of organisational failures. These included:

• A golf cart used to transport table tennis competitors to the doping control station (DCS) was not wheelchair accessible. This was labelled a ‘serious logistical failure’ by the IO team;
• Testing targets for minimum levels of analysis (MLA) for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) were met in 12 sports, but were not met in 13. Of those 13, no ESA analysis was requested at all in 10 sports that have a MLA requirement in the Technical Document for Sport Specific Analysis (TDSSA);
• Chaperones did not have access to the athlete database, so had not familiarised themselves with athletes. In some cases, the IO Team observed chaperones ‘searching for athletes’ pictures on their personal smart phones’;
• The DCS at the Carioca Arena, where wheelchair basketball, goalball, fencing, bocce and other sports were staged, was located ‘some distance from the competition venue’;
• Chaperones failed to report for duty or turned up late;
• Inadequate training of local staff in anti-doping procedures;
• A DCS access control pass was not always used or provided to athletes and their staff by chaperones;
• The IPC asked delegations to provide whereabouts information, however the IO team said it was unclear what consequences there were for delegations that did not provide the information. WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) was not used to locate athletes.

In total, 1,681 samples from 1,320 tests were taken at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. This breaks down as 77 in-competition (IC) tests and 543 out-of-competition (OOC) tests; 1,394 urine tests and 242 blood tests, plus 45 athlete biological passport (ABP) tests. The IO team was critical of the fact that only nine of 22 sports were included in the OOC testing plan, and recommended that more sports should be included in the future.

In total, from the 1,320 tests, 12 adverse analytical findings (AAFs) were recorded. Athletes held a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for nine of the 12 AAFs, whilst three resulted in an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV).

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