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Relentless fight against cheating continues

Tour de Ski

Fri, Jan  4, 2008 - By Sandra Spitz

FIS Anti-Doping Programme - Tour de Ski:
The relentless fight against cheating continues

The fight against doping in ski sport has been a major area of emphasis by FIS since it launched a concerted effort since the 2001/02 season to address the cultural problems that existed within certain disciplines, especially Cross-Country Skiing. Since the introduction of the World Anti-Doping Code in 2004, FIS has also been one of leaders within the sports movement in implementing the global stipulations and pioneering new methods against cheating. During the past season, FIS continued its efforts for drug-free sport. The investment in the 2006/07 FIS anti-doping programme amounted to more than 1 million Swiss Francs. In addition to a rigorous testing programme, the programme consists of various educational and informational initiatives.

New WADA Code / focus on targeted testing

A comprehensive Review & Consultation process of the World Anti-Doping Code and related International Standards and Guidelines took place over the past two years with the adoption of the new Code at the World Conference on Doping in Sport which took place in Madrid in November 2007. The revision included provisions to strengthen the anti-doping fight such as a call to increase sanctions in doping cases involving “aggravating circumstances,” i.e. being part of a larger doping scheme or an athlete having used multiple prohibited substances.

The emphasis in the new World Anti-Doping Code under Article 5, Testing is "Make Target Testing a priority". The FIS testing programme includes out-of-competition testing, blood testing as well as in-competition testing at FIS World Cup events. In addition, the various testing programmes carried out by WADA (out-of-competition) and National Anti-Doping Agencies (in- and out-of-competition) have enabled a comprehensive and increasingly well-coordinated effort.

Central to the FIS testing programme is specific target testing that is predominantly out of competition, as directed by the World Anti-Doping Code. Based on long-term, structured efforts, including the Blood Profiling Programme that was introduced as of the 2001/2002 season, FIS is increasingly in a position to conduct targeted testing. Recording high numbers of conducted tests does not necessarily translate into more success in finding athletes who are doping. By contrast, effective testing is a question of using intelligent information to conduct testing at the right time and place. Recent experience by other anti-doping organisations supports this view as WADA’s out-of-competition testing programme has resulted in an increased number of adverse analytical findings as a consequence of more focused testing.

Figures/Statistics Cross-Country specific, 2007/08 season so far:
  • In-Competition (IC) controls in World Cup conducted in Beitostoelen (NOR) & Kuusamo (FIN)
  • Total IC/ Out-of-Competition (OOC) Blood tests from 1.7.2007 – 31.12.2007 (Cross-Country) = 494
  • Total IC/OOC Urine tests from 1.7.2007 – 31.12.2007 (Cross-Country) = 160
  • Total 76 tests (Blood & Urine) took place in Nove Mesto (CZE), this figure is included in the totals above