International Testing Agency Acknowledges Chinese Case As Accelerated Pre-Paris Plan Kicks Off

As it enters the final stage of its pre-Paris testing program, the International Testing Agency (ITA) acknowledged the Chinese doping case that rocked the sporting world last month.

The ITA launched its pre-Games program in October 2023, and with the Olympics two months away, the final phase of the testing protocol kicks off during which the ITA “ramps up to focus on high-risk sports & athletes and supports global anti-doping efforts ahead of the Olympic Games.”

In detailing the specifics of the two-month ramp-up in testing on Thursday, the ITA said it has collaborated with World Aquatics to adapt its testing activities to “reinforce independent and intelligence-led testing activities on all high-risk swimmers worldwide” after news that 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive in 2021 came to light in April.

“The ITA is taking due consideration to the current situation regarding Chinese swimmers,” the ITA said. “While neither the ITA nor its partner World Aquatics have come across any evidence that would suggest that a cover-up or a manipulation of the anti-doping process took place as some media reports suggest, the ITA has nonetheless taken the recent concerns over the matter into account.

“To ensure the credibility of the Games and reinforce the trust that the athlete community places in the global anti-doping system, the ITA decided, with the full support of World Aquatics, to adapt its testing plans to further reinforce independent and intelligence-led testing activities on all high-risk swimmers worldwide in this sensitive period ahead of the Games.

“This further reinforcement follows work carried out by the ITA on behalf of World Aquatics to increase these independent and intelligence-led testing activities on high-risk swimmers over the past three years.”

The ITA, not the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has the testing responsibility for more than 80% of the summer Olympic federations, and thus has implemented increased testing efforts for “high-risk” sports and National Olympic Committees.

“This risk is determined by several variables, of which the combination of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) to which they belong and their discipline is one of the determining factors,” the ITA said.

“[A] minimum of three targeted doping controls [are to] be performed on high-risk athletes from the beginning of the year until the Games begin: over 50% of these high-risk athletes have already been tested at least once. 7% have been tested three times and a further 7% have been tested more than three times. As the majority of the tests will take place in the next 70 days, this can be seen as a positive trend in this area. More than two-thirds of these doping tests on high-risk athletes were carried out by NADOs, and around one-third by IFs.”

The agency also specifically noted that testing is in place for individual neutral athletes from Russia and Belarus who will participate in Paris.

“The ITA also continues to implement doping controls on Russian and Belarusian athletes potentially participating in the Games as individual neutral athletes (AIN) for the sports it is responsible for using independent doping control officers outside of the country.”

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29 days ago

When the barn Burns down, one doesn’t really worry about what else remains. And that is exactly what has happened in the case of the Chinese swimmers who all tested positive because they accidentally went to the wrong restaurant at the wrong time, ate the same food and well . . . .whatever.
I wish I could believe in the efficiency and efficacy of these tests, but sorry. . . . I don’t.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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