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Wednesday 06, May 2015

  French TV Micro-Dosing Doping Experiment Slammed By WADA

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French TV Micro-Dosing Doping Experiment Slammed By WADA

French television channel Stade 2 has been slammed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for its experiment into micro-dosing and avoiding detection from the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP). In this experiment, the organization described participants as “human guinea pigs.”

WADA claimed that French reports that a method called ‘micro-doping’ can beat anti-doping screenings are false. The results of this report were not scientifically proven, says WADA. It added it is first important in commenting on any study that the findings are properly peer reviewed and published.

Eight amateur athletes were recruited by Stade 2 and small doses of Erythropoietin (EPO) after undergoing a VO2 max test, which is a time trial on a static bike and 3km run. The recruited athletes were then tested again after the month of doping. It was found that average improvement in VO2 max among the athletes was at 6.1 per cent. The report also tried to demonstrate that none of the athletes would have been detected by the Athlete Biological Passport. It was also demonstrated by the program that the athletes would not have tripped any alarms in the bio-passport system thus implying that this doping method could be used by top professionals to surreptitiously enhance performance.

This study was carried out by Pierre Sallet of the Athletes for Transparency organization and demonstrated how the UCI Biological Passport can be circumvented by use of Human Growth Hormone, blood transfusions, EPO, and corticosteroids.

The report is believed to be allegedly conducted with the ‘blessing’ of the World Anti-Doping Agency but WADA has denied this despite making the Athlete Biological Passport software available for the report to use. In a statement, WADA director general David Howman said the study does not accurately follow the Athlete Biological Passport guidelines, and therefore its relevance to the ABP is not entirely clear. Howman added WADA is aware of the television report that aired on France Televisions and added that we would like to clarify that while we did make the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) software available, we certainly did not “bless” or endorse the study, as has been suggested.

The WADA director general also added that the study does not accurately follow the Athlete Biological Passport guidelines, and therefore its relevance to the ABP is not entirely clear. Howman also commented that WADA does not ever recommend athletes take part as ‘human guinea pigs’ in a study in which they would be subjected to taking performance enhancing drugs. The World Anti-Doping Agency also warned athletes not to take part in such studies in which they would be subjected to the use of performance enhancing drugs. A WADA statement reads we welcome and encourage research relevant to the Athlete Biological Passport, and continue to work with experts to advance and enhance the project.

In 2011, a study published in The European Journal of Applied Physiology revealed similar findings to those being reported in the French TV experiment. This study showed a 10 percent increase in total hemoglobin mass among 10 subjects and it also demonstrated that an anti-doping test, which was performed afterward using the biological passport parameters, did not flag any of the samples of the subjects as suspicious.

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Saturday 06, Sep 2014

  No Positive Doping Tests In 2014 Tour De France

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No Positive Doping Tests In 2014 Tour De France

There were no positive doping tests at Tour de France 2014, according to an announcement by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) on behalf of the UCI and the UK and French anti-doping agencies.

The UCI remarked all the samples collected were systematically analyzed to detect stimulants and erythropoiesis. It added Isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) was also analyzed in a certain number of samples, in particular to detect testosterone abuse and its precursors.

In this year’s Tour, a total of 719 blood and urine samples were taken as compared to 622 a year ago and testing was carried out at the WADA-accredited laboratory of Châtenay-Malabry in France that found Floyd Landis positive in 2006. Of these samples, 522 were taken during the race and 197 were collected pre-competition for the purposes of the biological passport and medical monitoring. In addition to this testing, all riders in the Tour were subjected to an unannounced and simultaneous biological passport test during the rest day in Carcassonne.

However, CADF director Francesca Rossi issued a warning that retrospective testing using new or more evolved testing method could yet be carried out at a later point. Rossi, referring to the French national anti-doping agency, said this target testing strategy has been hugely facilitated by the excellent on-site cooperation between CADF and AFLD (the French Anti-Doping Agency) during the race. Rossi added the anti-doping target testing strategy was discussed daily, taking into account the performances of the riders and other data. The CADF director also said we also had a valuable contribution from UK Anti-Doping before the start and during all stages in England and went on to remark that this year’s Tour was also the first time, in addition to the pre-competition testing, that we organized a second large-scale unannounced mission where all the riders were simultaneously tested for the Athlete Biological Passport during a rest day in Carcassonne that was made possible thanks to the logistical support of the AFLD.

UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Andy Parkinson added that UKAD works closely with our global partners to provide robust and comprehensive anti-doping programs in our country. Parkinson further said the UCI/CADF took a proactive approach in running an intelligence-led anti-doping program at this year’s Tour de France and, as with any such operation UKAD was able to share appropriate information and expertise. The UKAD Chief also said collaborative approaches represent the future of anti-doping.

UCI president Brian Cookson said he would like to thank the anti-doping bodies involved in the 2014 Tour de France operations for their collaboration, in particular the French Anti-Doping Agency and UK Anti-Doping, but also the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation. Cookson added this sort of collaboration is absolutely necessary and said thanks to a sharing of information, the effectiveness of the testing distribution and therefore the overall anti-doping program is improved, with the stakeholders sharing their knowledge, their know-how and the information they have available. The UCI President added it in addition increases the program’s transparency while obviously respecting the confidentiality regulations in force.

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Wednesday 13, Aug 2014

  Rugby Defends Its Anti-Doping Program

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Rugby Defends Its Anti-Doping Program

Anti-doping figures released for 2013 by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) indicate that Rugby Union on international scale demonstrates a higher percentage of positive test results than either cycling or athletics. The International Rugby Board welcomed the findings but remarked this does not suggest that the sport is less clean than other sports listed in the report.

WADA made this finding by combining all of its laboratory findings across Olympic sports in 2013. The findings were taken from both urine and blood samples and were made public on July 8th. It was revealed that the 1.3 percent figure of rugby is a higher Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) than both athletics and cycling that both come in at 1.2 percent. An Adverse Analytical Finding means the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolite was found in the sample.

The figures include all analyses conducted by the 33 WADA- accredited laboratories for in- and out-of-competition testing and by the two additional laboratories that have been approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency. These laboratories conduct blood testing exclusively for the Athlete Biological Passport, which is one of the most important anti-doping tools to be introduced in recent years.

There were 5,962 adverse or atypical test results across all sports in 2013, compared with 4,723 in 2012 that revealed the number of abnormal test findings increased by more than 20 percent last year. In all, 6,126 samples were taken in rugby across the 33 laboratories that appears comparatively low compared to 11,585 taken in athletics and 22,252 in cycling. The very high testing rate of cycling is due to the fact that WADA tends to target sports that have proven to be drug user-friendly. WADA remarked the results offer the most robust and transparent reflection of the global state of anti-doping testing to date.

Football in general registered a figure of 0.5 per cent in 201 though it was recently revealed by FIFA, the world governing body of football, that there were no positive tests from any players in the recently-concluded FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

An IRB spokesman said what it doesn’t mean is rugby is less clean than other sports and added you cannot deduce that. The spokesman added what it shows is that an intelligent anti-doping program in rugby is working and catching those using illegal substances and added we want to catch people using banned substances and a lot of our testing is targeted and we focus a lot on the Under 20s. The IRB spokesman also remarked quite often positive tests would come from supplements and we know they are particularly susceptible there, so education is also a big part of our program and also remarked that these figures show they will be tested and they will be caught if they use illegal substances.

A spokesman for the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said our anti-doping program is in line with the International Rugby Board and Irish Sports Council Anti-Doping criteria and we believe that it is very robust and added this is a global study and the IRFU is not in a position to comment.

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Thursday 13, Jun 2013

  NRL Unveils New Anti-Doping Measures

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NRL Unveils New Anti-Doping Measures

New drug testing procedures designed to “level the playing field” and stamp drugs out of the game have been unveiled by the National Rugby League.

There is no place for drugs in the sport, league chief executive Dave Smith told reporters at Rugby League Central in Sydney and added that we will do everything we can to have a drug-free game and the new testing measures are just part of our commitment to fans and players to placing integrity and compliance at the forefront of rugby league. Smith added we have been working with ASADA to identify the emerging threats in world sport and we have now developed a comprehensive new testing program that responds to and minimizes these risks.

The NRL has also appointed a general manager of integrity and chief legal officer, Nick Weeks, and established a dedicated integrity and compliance unit for the first time. League chief executive Dave Smith also remarked that NRL will utilize a test that was developed during the 2012 London Olympics to detect the use of human growth hormones (hGH) and the new anti-doping regime will also include an athlete biological passport (ABP) for players, regular testing both during the season and off-season and increased peptide testing. Smith also revealed that the latter will see samples sent to Cologne, in France, to take advantage of leading international developments and added peptides are very advanced drugs and from time immemorial it’s been hard to keep up with tests for these drugs. The league chief executive went on to say that he hoped testing would increase in future seasons and the ABP test is in effect as of now and also said we’ve signed the contract earlier in the week so the new regime is in place, it’s actually happened.

Smith said ASADA will do all the things they need to do to carry out the testing and where we start is not where we’re going to finish and we will always be able to shift the program. The chief executive added that the ABP tests are different from traditional tests as they look at the effects of doping, rather than directly detecting the prohibited substances or methods used and this means that even if a substance has left the body, the tests will detect if it was there. Smith recently called on the rugby league fraternity to lay off the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and said the anti-doping body should be left to operate on its own schedule. Smith also remarked that the process is still moving along and also said ASADA know that he continues to want urgently to get the existing investigation done, so he thinks we’re all clear in where I stand on that point and ASADA continue to reassure me that they’re doing everything they possibly can to get the investigation completed in as timely manner as they possibly can. In a statement, the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) said it backed the NRL’s new testing measures and the way it has gone about investigating doping.

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Thursday 14, Mar 2013

  Tennis’s Biological Passport Idea Criticized By Anti-Doping Expert

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Tennis’s Biological Passport Idea Criticized By Anti-Doping Expert

Don Catlin, considered to be one of the founders of modern drug-testing and one of the sport’s most respected anti-doping experts, has issued a damning indictment of attempts by tennis to step up its drug testing program and questioned whether it has the money or the desire to make it work.

Last week, tennis officials announced that tennis is to adopt the athlete biological passport that effectively tests for the likely existence of drugs rather than for specific substances. Catlin remarked he would tell them not to bother and they are better off to increase the number of tests they do rather than spend it all on the passport. The anti-doping expert added that doubling or tripling urine tests would be of more value than starting a passport because you need such a long lead-in and you need data over four or five years. The man behind the renowned UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory believes the sport is reacting to pressure rather than tackling the big problems for the right reasons.

Now president and chief executive officer of Anti-Doping Research, a company in Los Angeles, Catlin added that it is always hard to be critical of someone when they’re trying to do something that’s worthwhile and tennis would have done better if it was able to start with the top 100 male players and then test them five times a year but tennis cannot afford to do that or does not want to.

The athlete biological passport creates individual blood profiles instead of testing for specific, performance enhancing drugs and a doping case may be opened if athletes deviate from set parameters over time. Tennis has already tested for erythropoietin through urine and human growth hormone through blood.

In signing up to the passport, the funding partners in the program: the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Association of Tennis Professionals, Women’s Tennis Association, and four grand slam events, agreed to increase their contributions, lifting the overall budget to an estimated $3.5m. However, Catlin remarked he thought the budget was still way too low.

The International Tennis Federation defended the decision to adopt the passport in a statement and said the Anti-Doping Working Group has identified the introduction of biological passports as a key enhancement of the detection and deterrence of doping under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program and the implementation of the passport in accordance with Wada’s [the World Anti-Doping Agency] recommendations, including the required budget, is now being discussed by the four parties in the program.

Things will barely change unless tennis finds significantly more money to do enough tests, Catlin said and added tennis is way behind other sports, in my opinion and doping is never going to go away and there needs to be independent testing.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer applauded the announcement that tennis will introduce biological passports for players and urged the sport to make the ATP Tour “as clean as it possibly can be” with a broad approach. The 17-time grand slam winner Federer said he thinks tennis has done a good job of trying everything to be as clean as possible but we are entering a new era.

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Sunday 03, Mar 2013

  Ex-World No. 4 Claims He Fought Against Dopers

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Ex-World No. 4 Claims He Fought Against Dopers

Performance enhancing drugs have been in the spotlight again after former tennis world number four Guy Forget claimed he was beaten by rivals who took drugs.

Three players – Ryan Newport from the United States, Bulgarian Dimitar Kutrovsky and Italian Filippo Calorosi – are presently suspended from playing tennis for taking performance enhancing drugs and the former world number 4 believes they are not the only men on the circuit guilty of doping. Guy Forget claims he played against players who were doping by saying he has lost matches against guys who beat me with an unfair advantage because they were taking drugs and added that he can look at himself in the mirror knowing that he never took anything.

Forget added he does not feel that sport is clean and tennis is not untouched by this poisonous thing. He, however, added that this is a minority probably, but that is why Roger Federer and the other guys says we should put more money into blood test and controls because we should fight this any way we can.

Australian coach Darren Cahill, who has coached Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, said our testing program is inadequate and that’s why no-one can stand up and speak out; it’s gone backwards in recent years. Current world number one Novak Djokovic recently said the number of blood tests he has undergone has dropped in the last year and remarked he wasn’t tested with blood for last six, seven months and it was more regularly in last two, three years ago. Djokovic added he didn’t know the reason why they stopped it.

Dr. Stuart Miller, who oversees the ITF’s anti-doping program, says we can improve by introducing what is known as the athlete biological passport, which is a blood-based testing program which allows you to establish individual baseline parameters and there is a reasonably good chance that that it will be operational probably towards the end of 2013. Of Forget’s complaints, Miller said anti-doping was very different when Forget was playing as there was no such thing as the World Anti-Doping Agency, there was no list of prohibited substances that all the sports signed up to and actually tennis was one of the pioneering sports in introducing anti-doping testing back in Forget’s time.

In the late 1980s, the Men’s Tennis Council began drug testing with the focus mainly on recreational drugs and the testing was extended to include performance enhancing drugs when the ATP Tour was formed in 1990. Today, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) leads a unified Tennis Anti-Doping Program applying across all tennis events. The ITF is now thinking on the lines of introducing an athlete biological passport (ABP) which allows officials to collect and compare biological data and spot variances that suggest doping.

Meanwhile, four-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova is confident she is competing on a level playing field and remarked she feels tennis is clean for the amount of times that we get tested throughout the year and as random as they are, definitely.

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Sunday 07, Oct 2012

  Six New Athletes Sanctioned

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Six New Athletes Sanctioned

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has suspended six new athletes under the IAAF Athlete Biological Passport program.

Abderrahim Goumri (36 – Morocco), Iríni Kokkinaríou (31 – Greece), Meryem Erdogan (22 – Turkey), Svetlana Klyuka (34 -Russia), Nailiya Yulamanova (32 – Russia), and Yevgeniya Zinurova (30 – Russia) have each recently received a sanction for an anti-doping rule violation. The six athletes received the sanction under IAAF Rule 32.2 (b) (use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or method) on the basis of an abnormal Athlete Biological Passport profile.

The announcement follows the case of Ornelas Helder, the Portuguese long distance runner, who was the first ever athlete to be sanctioned under the IAAF Athlete Biological Passport program.

The Athlete Biological Passport involves evaluating and monitoring the blood variables of an athlete over a period of time and establishes the longitudinal profile of an athlete that is used for indicating the use of prohibited substances or prohibited methods.

Four of the six athletes (Meryem Erdogan, Svetlana Klyuka, Nailiya Yulamanova and Yevgeniya Zinurova) prompted admitted to committing an anti-doping violation and waived their right to a hearing. Pursuant to IAAF Rules, the rule on aggravating circumstances was not applied and the IAAF proposed the application of the standard sanction of two years that was accepted by the athletes. A sanction of four years was received by Abderrahim Goumri from the Moroccan Athletic Federation and he Greek Athletic Federation found Iríni Kokkinaríou guilty of an anti-doping rule violation and imposed a sanction of two years on the athlete.

All the six athletes were flagged as suspicious and were targeted by the IAAF since 2009 on a regular basis both in-competition and out-of-competition in the course of the IAAF Athlete Biological Passport program. Their full profiles were flagged as abnormal and subsequently submitted to the Expert Panel composed of three independent international experts in the field of hematology in accordance with IAAF Anti-Doping Rules and Regulations.

Svetlana Klyuka ran the sixth fastest women’s 800m time in the world in 2006 (1:57:21 minutes). The Russian middle distance runner was the winner of the 2005 Universiade and the 2006 European Cup and a silver medalist at the 2006 European Athletics Championships and placed fourth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After this ban, all her performances from August 15, 2009 up to that period were erased.

Nailiya Yulamanova, the Russian long-distance runner who specializes in the marathon, won the Saransk Marathon in 2006 and went on to finish twelfth at the 2006 European Championships and 32nd at the 2007 World Championships. She won the Prague International Marathon in 2007 and 2008, the Istanbul Marathon in 2008 and the Rotterdam Marathon in 2009.

Abderrahim Goumri, the Moroccan long-distance runner, established himself with performances at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships where he won the team bronze medals at the 2002 and 2003 editions. Goumri ran a career best of 12:50.25 minutes for the distance to take eleventh place on the all-time lists and reached the 5000 meters track finals at the 2003 World Championships and the 2004 Athens Olympics.

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Saturday 06, Oct 2012

  Long Distance Runner Sanctioned

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Long Distance Runner Sanctioned

The Portuguese Athletic Federation (FPA) has found Hélder Ornelas, 38, a long distance runner from Portugal, guilty of a doping violation and sanctioned him with a 4-year period of ineligibility.

The evidence against the long distance runner included a series of blood test results that were collected by the IAAF in the course of the Athlete Biological Passport program between December 2009 and November 2010. This is the first time wherein Athlete Biological Passport has been used in athletics as sole evidence in support of an anti-doping rule violation.

The biological passport measures and monitors the blood variables of an athlete over a period of time besides establishing an individual longitudinal profile that can suggest the use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method. The blood profile of Hélder Ornelas was flagged as being abnormal in May 2011 that triggered further investigations in accordance with IAAF Anti-Doping Regulations.

Blood profile of the distance runner was then submitted to an expert panel that was composed on three international experts in the field of hematology. It was unanimously concluded by the experts that there was no known reasonable explanation for the abnormalities observed in the blood profile of Ornelas other than the use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method.

The IAAF initiated disciplinary proceedings against Ornelas on the basis of conclusions made by the expert panel and referred the runner’s case to the Portuguese Athletic Federation for adjudication. The IAAF sought a sanction of four years while referring the case to the FPA because it believed that there ere aggravating circumstances in this case to justify the imposition of an increased sanction, which is in line with the long-standing position of the IAAF that favors an increased sanction for serious first time doping offences and the governing body said it would continue to enforce the rules on aggravating circumstances whenever there are valid grounds for doing so.

Decision by the FPA concludes an evaluation of ten months and adjudication process. The long distance runner did not exercise his right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and decision by the FPA became final and binding under rules of the IAAF.

IAAF President Lamine Diack said members of the athletic community should be warned that the Athlete Biological Passport is more than just a concept, as it is an efficient method that is now being used by the IAAF Anti-Doping Department for identifying, targeting, and catching those who chose doping as the only route to success.

With this sanction, Hélder Ornelas becomes the first Olympic athlete to be caught using the Athlete Biological Passport.

Ornelas, who has competed in two Olympics, won the Milan Marathon in 2005 and the Prague Marathon in 2007 and finished 46th in the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and was 17th in the 5,000 meters at the 2000 Sydney Games. Hélder Ornelas finished eighth in the long race at the 2001 world cross country championships and also won the 2005 Milan Marathon.

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