UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) will act as the secretariat for an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Pre-Rio Anti-Doping Taskforce, according to an announcement by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This would mean UK Anti-Doping would be entrusted with the task of ensuring a coordinated effort amongst all relevant National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) in the buildup to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
This is the second role granted to UK Anti-Doping this month after it was asked to step in and oversee drug-testing procedures in Russia for the period that RUSADA, Russia's anti-doping agency, remains non-compliant.
The Taskforce's primary objective is to identify potential gaps in testing around the globe across all Olympic sports and working alongside existing programs of NADP pre-Games testing programs. The operational activities of the taskforce, under the leadership of the IOC and management of WADA, will be carried out by UK Anti-Doping, Anti-Doping Denmark (ADD), Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA), Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) and the South African Institute of Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS).
The remit of the Taskforce will be to review of testing plans for identifying potential gaps, collecting and sharing of regional intelligence to inform international testing plans. It will also include identification of high risk athletes based on known test histories, performances and other International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI) criteria. The taskforce remit would also cover subsequently approach International Federations (IFs) and NADOs to recommend testing under their own programs keep WADA and the IOC apprised of potential gaps and all recommendations made to IFs and NADOs, and where cooperation is missing or lacking. The remit of taskforce will also include providing a transfer of knowledge to the IOC prior to the start of the Games to inform the IOC’s testing strategy during the Games themselves.
UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead said UK Anti-Doping is delighted to have been asked by the World Anti-Doping Agency to be the secretariat for the pre-Rio Anti-Doping Taskforce. Sapstead added it is the first time something like this has been done and also added that global cooperation is a vital aspect of protecting clean sport and developing a level playing field for all athletes. The UKAD Chief Executive also commented that this is an important step forward for global sport and the protection of clean athletes. Sapstead also said it is an opportunity for International Federations and National Anti-Doping Organizations to collaborate to ensure pre-Games testing programs are targeted, meaningful, and effective.
In another development, WADA announced it will retest samples from the two previous Summer Olympics for ensuring that no cheaters compete this year. The World Anti-Doping Agency will use advancements in testing technology to weed out offenders. Funded by the International Olympic Committee, WADA investigation will retest hundreds of doping samples from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. IOC medical director and scientific director Dr. Richard Budgett said at the WADA Anti-Doping Organization Symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland that the aim of the program is to prevent athletes who cheated in London or Beijing, and got away with it because we didn't have as advanced methods of analysis as we do now, from competing in Rio de Janeiro.