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Fivefold increase in out-of-competition doping testing

Fri, Jun  27, 2008 - By FIS

Based on long-term, structured anti-doping efforts, including the FIS Blood Profiling Program that was introduced as of the 2001/2002 season, FIS is increasingly in a position to conduct targeted testing. In line with this focus, FIS last season performed as many as 375 out-of-competition tests, including both blood tests and urine (normal screen and EPO analysis) along with blood transfusion and insulin tests. This is almost five times as many as the season before when 80 out-of-competition controls were performed by FIS. In addition, WADA conducted another 228 out-of-competition tests on FIS athletes. WADA’s out-of-competition testing included blood and urine controls.

In total, there were 1,739 in- and out-of-competition doping controls carried out in all FIS Olympic disciplines by FIS during the 2007/2008 season.

All in all, 1367 in-competition tests were completed, including regular urine tests, urine EPO controls, blood tests, HBOC (haemoglobin based oxygen carrier) and blood transfusion controls. The large majority of in-competition tests, 898, were blood tests, in addition to urine (293) and HBOC (170) tests. Among the FIS disciplines, the Cross-Country athletes were most often subject to testing as 1009 in-competition tests were performed on them, followed by Nordic Combined with 117 in-competition controls.

In line with the directives of WADA the emphasis on the testing program is focused on targeted out-of-competition testing. The number of tests alone do not tell the whole story, despite being the main statistic contained in various reports. It is relatively easy to collect high numbers of ‘easy’ tests at team training camps for teams that have well-structured programs in easily reachable locations. But it is quite another task to carry out testing on athletes at very specific periods in the preparation cycle, at distant inaccessible locations - and this is the challenge that FIS is now undertaking with the strong support of WADA, in order to make the testing as effective as possible.

As a consequence of the focus on out-of-competition testing by FIS, the in-competition testing regime at FIS World Cup events has been complimented by a large number of National Anti-Doping Agencies conducting tests, with whom FIS is collaborating closely.

During the 2006/2007 season, a total of 1,469 in-competition doping controls were carried out. Additionally 1,133 doping controls were carried out at the four FIS World Championships (including Junior World Championships) where the number of athletes subject to post-competition doping controls included the top four plus two at random, as per FIS Rules.