IPC To Take Action Against Countries Over Doping

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is evaluating actions against National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) for reducing the number of anti-doping violations in para-sport, in particular the sport of powerlifting.

In the last 14 months, 13 power lifters have received suspension for failing drug tests despite IPC Powerlifting conducting more tests than ever before. The IPC Powerlifting also implemented a comprehensive education program for athletes and support staff. Now, the IPC and the IPC Anti-Doping Committee are evaluating a range of actions that may be taken against a country that repeatedly has athletes failing drugs tests. The nature and quantum of actions will be presented to the IPC Governing Board in October. If it is approved, the action(s) will be included in the new IPC Anti-Doping Code and will come into effect on 1 January 2015.

It is widely believed that the IPC may be considering imposing financial sanctions on National Paralympic Committees and reducing the number of slots an NPC is allowed for athletes to compete in a particular sport at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Last year, the powerlifting qualification guide was published for maintaining a fair and consistent qualification pathway for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. This guide states that all athletes must attend at least one IPC approved powerlifting competition each year leading up to the Games in addition to meeting the Minimum Qualification Standard.

Xavier Gonzalez, the IPC’s Chief Executive Officer, said doping cheats, and those supporting them, have no place in IPC Powerlifting and added that we take doping in sport extremely seriously and, as our testing program clearly shows, we are 100 per cent committed to finding the cheats and suspending them from the sport. Gonzalez added we are disappointed with the high number of positive tests in recent years despite IPC Powerlifting’s best efforts to educate power lifters and support staff around the world.

He went on to add that we are more disappointed however at the number of athletes across all sports who, during anti-doping hearings, have said they have received no education or support on anti-doping from their NPC, despite the fact that this is ultimately their responsibility. The IPC’s Chief Executive Officer added the IPC will be increasing our efforts further but the NPCs also must fulfill their obligations too. He also remarked that they have a duty to ensure their athletes are not cheating and are fully aware of the rules, especially in light of all the supplements that are out there and if they fail this duty, then they, as well as the athlete, may face a range of actions should an ant-doping violation occur.

Gonzalez also remarked the IPC going forward will continue to educate athletes and their support staff on the importance of anti-doping and added we will conduct workshops and produce materials in a variety of languages to make it easier for athletes to understand the message. Gonzalez also remarked we will also be stepping up the number of tests we conduct each year, both in and out of competition, and covering blood and urine. He further remarked but countries also have to act and said no longer can they neglect their responsibilities when it comes to anti-doping education for athletes.

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