Wada report into Rio anti-doping criticises 'serious failings'

A damning report has criticised "serious failings" in the anti-doping operation at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The 55-page World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) Independent Observers report accused the management team in the Rio 2016 anti-doping department of "a lack of coordination", which it said contributed to putting an almost unmanageable strain on attempts to carry out drug tests.

The report said that on some days up to half of all planned tests due to be carried out in the Athletes' Village had to be aborted because the athletes could not be found.

The build-up to the 2016 Games was dominated by a doping scandal, with Russia not given a blanket ban from the event despite revelations of state-sponsored doping.

As well as a "lack of coordination/unified approach" among the Rio 2016 anti-doping department management, the report also blamed the failings on financial cutbacks , tensions between Rio 2016 and the Brazilian Anti-Doping Agency and significant staffing changes in the Rio 2016 anti-doping department.

The report was fiercely critical of the lack of support, training and information given to chaperones whose job it was to notify athletes of testing.

The report said: "Chaperones were often provided with little or no whereabouts information for athletes targeted for out-of-competition testing in the Athletes Village, and therefore, the majority of times had to resort to asking team officials and/or athletes from the same team where the athletes they were looking for were located.

"Providing the names of the athletes they were seeking was (at best) highly inefficient and obviously compromised the 'no notice' nature of the testing. In addition, when initial attempts to find an athlete in his or her room were unsuccessful, chaperones often lacked the training and/or the confidence to follow up with further enquiries and effort to find the athlete in other locations in the Village (such as the dining hall).

"Ultimately, many athletes targeted for testing in the Athletes Village simply could not be found and the mission had to be aborted. On some days, up to 50 per cent of planned target tests were aborted in this way."

The report said the lack of support for chaperones, including not providing them with adequate food, led to many not turning up.

Highlighting also the lack of doping control staff, the report said that on one day at the Athletes Village only two blood collection officers were present to carry out 94 scheduled blood tests. On another occasion, there were none " and therefore all blood testing planned for that day had to be abandoned".

Transport arrangements to enable doping officers to travel to and from venues were "often inadequate, or even non-existent".

And observers said computers and printers needed to receive and print out drug-test orders sometimes did not work. Even when there were working computers, not enough log-in accounts were assigned to doping control personnel.

The report said no out-of-competition testing was conducted in football, while there was "little or no in-competition blood testing in many high risk sports and disciplines, including weightlifting".

The report also shockingly revealed that, ahead of the Games, more than 4,000 athletes scheduled to compete at Rio 2016 had no drug-testing record at all in 2016.

It said that, in the week ahead of the opening of the Athletes' Village on July 24, 4,125 athletes of the 11,470 on the International Olympic Committee's confirmed entrants list had "no record of any testing in 2016".

It was also revealed that almost 500 fewer drug tests were carried out at Rio 2016 than had been planned.

It said that the plan was for 5,380 tests in total to be carried out. In reality there were 4,882.

And of the 450 planned Athlete Biological Passport blood tests, only 47 were carried out.

The number of individual athletes tested in total at the Games was 3,237, or 28.62 per cent of the number competing.

The report said that, were it not for its "dedicated" staff on the ground, "the Games anti-doping programme would have almost certainly collapsed".

Despite its damning criticisms, the WADA report also praised the Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory, which had had its accreditation suspended ahead of the Games for failing to comply with international standards.

The report said the laboratory was "superbly equipped, operated very securely and generally very efficiently, and now represents an outstanding legacy from the Games for the anti-doping movement in South America".


KEYWORDS: Olympics

 

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