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Continuous Doping Control in the Time of COVID-19 for Fair Play and Clean Sports—An Overview of CHINADA’s Testing in the 1st Quarter

2020-05-08 17:38:20

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, CHINADA has been conscientiously preparing for the Olympic Games while preventing the spread of coronavirus, keeping a close watch on changes of the pandemic for timely response to contingencies and dynamic adjustment of testing plan, so as to ensure uninterrupted doping tests.
 
Pandemic prevention is the priority in the context of COVID-19 crisis. Allowing for zero failure in the pandemic prevention, CHINADA developed “Doping Control Plan during the Epidemic Prevention and Control Period” and “Doping Control Guideline during the Epidemic Prevention and Control Period” based on thorough assessment of the pandemic development and the reality of Olympic preparations. To ensure the safety of athletes and doping control officers (“DCO”) and reach the goal of “zero infection and zero transmission” during testing, CHINADA continuously monitored DCOs’ health on a daily basis to eliminate risks, and only DCOs meeting the pandemic prevention requirements were allowed to perform tasks. Meanwhile, a steering committee for pandemic prevention in doping control constituted by anti-doping experts and epidemiologists was founded by CHINADA to provide training on COVID-19 prevention and necessary medical knowledge for DCOs and other related personnel. Thanks to the strict preventative measures, no athlete or DCO was infected with coronavirus due to doping tests during the 1st quarter.
 
Besides, CHINADA reported to WADA, ITA and other international organizations on China’s progress in doping control and “Doping Control Guideline during the Epidemic Prevention and Control Period”, while pledging to other international anti-doping organizations that China was ready to provide assistance for their doping tests within China and fully fulfill China’s responsibilities in global anti-doping initiative. China’s pledge was unanimously applauded and its measures and practices of maintaining the integrity of anti-doping initiatives during COVID-19 were recommended by WADA to other international peer organizations.
 
During the coronavirus outbreak, CHINADA has overcome numerous difficulties and continuously and effectively carried out doping tests on athletes preparing for Tokyo Olympics. In the 1st quarter of 2020, a total of 2,449 tests were carried out, including 1,928 government-pay tests and 521 user-pay tests. Among the government-pay tests, 1,524 were on athletes preparing for Tokyo Olympics, accounting for 80% of the total in the 1st quarter.
 
As outbound travels for competition and training increased for athletes since the pandemic outbreak on January 23, testing plans were revised accordingly by CHINADA. On one hand, overseas testing was intensified with 499 tests performed on athletes of national teams of 22 sports including athletics, cycling, kayaking, badminton, gymnastics, and golf in 21 countries including US, UK, Australia, Thailand, South Africa, and Kenya by authorizing overseas anti-doping organizations. Up to March 31, a total of 657 tests were performed overseas, an increase of 115% compared to the entire 2019. On the other hand, for sports teams in enclosed training in China during the outbreak, with the support of training bases for national teams in Beijing, a total of 21 DCOs in 9 batches were dispatched to the training bases for 409 tests performed on athletes of national teams of 17 sports.
 
Multiple sporting events including Tokyo Olympics are to be postponed due to COVID-19, yet efforts in anti-doping allow for no slackening. CHINADA shall put protecting athletes’ health during the pandemic on the top of agenda, while sticking to zero tolerance of doping as always, safeguarding fair play and clean sports with firm determination and down-to-earth attitude.

 

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