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Clean Sport / Testing procedures

Testing procedures

Testing, or doping control, remains one the primary tools for deterring and detecting doping in sport, through the collection of urine or blood samples for analysis. 

Athletes can be tested anywhere and anytime, in or out-of-competition, without any advance notice.  All athletes may be subject to testing, not just those included in a testing pool.

Testing Authority

Athletes may be subject to testing under the authority or jurisdiction of different anti-doping organisations including:

  • National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs)
  • IWAS (International Federations)
  • Major Event Organisations (MEOs)

IWAS has testing authority as both an International Federation (for wheelchair fencing and powerchair hockey) and a Major Event Organisation (e.g. the IWAS World Games and IWAS Youth Games).

The Doping Control (testing) process

The following outlines the basic steps in the doping control process.

Notification & Chaperoning  

A Doping Control Officer (DCO) or chaperone will notify you that you are selected for testing and explain your rights and responsibilities.  Once notified, you must stay within sight of the DCO/Chaperone until the testing process is complete.  You can ask for a representative such as a coach or interpreter to support and assist you.

Reporting to the Doping Control Station

You must report to the Doping Control Station (DCS) as soon as practical after notification – unless you have a valid reason for delay.   Reasons to delay reporting include for example, attending a medal ceremony, performing a warm down or collecting identification.

You can relax and rehydrate in the DCS, until you’re ready to provide a sample.  Take care not to drink too much – if your sample is too diluted, you will need to provide another sample.

Sample Collection

When you are ready to provide a sample, you will be asked to choose a collection beaker.  Check that there is no damage to the beaker you select.  A DCO or chaperone, the same gender as you, will accompany you to bathroom or toilet.  You may be asked to adjust your clothing or posture so that he/she can witness the urine leaving your body.

Minor athletes (under-18) can request that their representative observe the DCO/Chaperone while he/she is witnessing the sample provision.

Modifications For Athletes With A Disability

Athletes with a disability may require assistance from a representative to provide a urine sample.  The athlete must first authorise any representative to assist him or her – and the type of assistance provided must also be approved in consultation with the DCO.

Any modifications to the sample collection process will be recorded on the Doping Control Form.

NOTE: If an athlete requires additional urine collection equipment in order to provide a urine sample, it is his or her responsibility to have the necessary equipment ready and available.  Without this equipment, if the athlete is unable to provide a sample, he/she could face anti-doping rule violation proceedings for failing to comply.  Seek advice from a nurse, doctor or occupational therapist if you are unsure what equipment might be required.

Blood Test

The blood testing process is similar to urine.  A qualified professional (phlebotomist) will collect your blood sample.  You will be required to sit quietly for a minimum of 10 minutes before the sample is collected.  Depending on the type of blood test, you may be required to rest for two hours after competing or training.

If you are afraid of needles, tell the blood collection officer so he/she can help you through the process.

Sealing the Sample

The DCO will instruct you to choose a kit and check that it is sealed, intact and the numbers match.  You will divide your sample between the A and B bottles and seal them.  Only you can touch your samples until they are securely sealed in the bottles – unless you require assistance to do this.

The minimum volume of urine required is 90mls.  If you can’t provide 90mls on your first attempt, this is a partial sample.  Your sample will be sealed temporarily until you provide further samples to meet the required volume.

The DCO will also check the dilution of your final sample.  If your sample is too dilute, you will be asked to provide another sample.

Completing the Documentation

The DCO will complete the Doping Control Form (DCF) with you.  If a paperless system is used your DCF will be completed electronically.  It is important to check that all the details on the form are correct before you sign it to confirm the testing process was appropriate.

You will be asked to declare any medication or supplements you have taken within the last 7 days and if you consent to your sample being used (anonymously) for research purposes.

If you have any concerns about the process, you can write a comment directly on the Doping Control Form.  If you are not comfortable doing this at the time, you should contact your NPC without delay to raise your concerns.

Sample Analysis & Results

Your samples will be shipped to a WADA-accredited laboratory for analysis.  The results of the analysis will be sent to IWAS (or the responsible anti-doping organisation) and to WADA.

If your sample tests negative no further action is required.

If your sample tests positive, this is called an adverse analytical finding (AAF).  It means a prohibited substance has been detected in your sample.  In this case,  IWAS will contact you through your NPC with more information.

Your sample can be stored for up to 10 years during which time it may be reanalysed.

Athlete rights and responsibilities

Athletes have both rights and responsibilities when they are subject to doping control.

Athlete Rights

Athletes have a right to:

  • Request a representative and an interpreter (if available and required) accompany them for support and assistance
  • Request a delay in reporting to the Doping Control Station for a valid reason
  • Ask questions or request additional information about the sample collection process
  • Request modifications to the sample collection process (if the athlete is a minor or an athlete with a disability)

Athlete Responsibilities

Athletes have a responsibility to:

  • Remain within sight of the Doping Control Officer or Chaperone at all times following notification
  • Comply with the doping control process
  • Report to the Doping Control Station as soon as possible, unless there is a valid reason to delay
  • Produce appropriate identification such as a valid passport

Athlete Biological Passport

What is the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP)?

The term “athlete biological passport” was first proposed in the early 2000s by the scientific community when monitoring of select haematological variables (markers of blood doping) was identified as a means to define an individual’s haematological profile.

In conjunction with several stakeholders and medical experts, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) began to further develop, harmonise, and validate this concept. The ABP is a collation of all relevant biologicals data unique to an individual Athlete, thus facilitate exchange of information and mutual recognition of data’s and, consequently, help to the fight against doping.

Does IWAS have an ABP Program?

IWAS continues to integrate the ABP properly and successfully into its overall program by weighing all factors including the required resources and capacity to operate such an extensive program. IWAS strongly intends to continue to build its ABP database throughout the coming years, to use it to complement all its other anti-doping initiatives effectively and efficiently, and to pursue any apparent Anti-Doping Rules Violations (ADRV) arising from them.

How does the passport work?

The ABP consists of collecting data about two modules:

  • The Haematological Profile.
  • The Steroidal Profile.

These modules aim to identify the use of prohibited substances and/or prohibited methods.

What is the Haematological Profile?

The haematological profile collects information on markers of blood doping. It aims to identify the use of prohibited substances and/or prohibited methods for the enhancement of oxygen transport of delivery, including the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) and any form of blood transfusion or manipulation.

What is the Steroidal Profile?

The steroidal profile collects information on markers of steroid doping. It aims to identify endogenous anabolic androgenic steroids when administrated exogenously and other anabolic agents. It is also an effective means to identity samples which may have been tampered with or exchanged with the urine of another individual.

What are the objectives of the ABP?

The ABP is built on the monitoring over time of an athlete, in the goal to select biological variables that indirectly reveals the effects of doping. It is a complementary means with the tests made in competition and out of competition. Indeed, the ABP can notably be used as a complement to analytical methods to further refine and strengthen overall anti-doping strategies.

What about the consequences?

Through changes in biological markers of doping collated over an athlete’s career, the ABP can be used to establish the use of a prohibited substance and/or prohibited methods without necessarily relying on the detection of a particular prohibited substance or prohibited method.

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