Sochi 2014 WADA Observer Program To Be Headed By UKAD Chief

Andy Parkinson, chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, has been named to head the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Observer (IO) Program at Sochi 2014.

Parkinson will lead a team an eight strong team that is responsible to oversee and monitor doping control operations in an unbiased manner at next year’s Winter Games, which get underway in 40 days’ time. Parkinson has been involved in a number of IO programs, including at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics and 2010 Tour de France.

The committee Рmade up of Thierry Boghosian, Fran̤oise Dagouret, Rob Koehler, Mich̬le Mercier, Tim Ricketts, Huw Roberts and Annelies Vandenberghe Рduring Sochi 2014 will observe the test planning and delivery, laboratory analysis, doping control, and results management besides producing a report on their findings following the conclusion of the Games. This committee will also be offering its recommendations for improvements for any events in the future and interact on a daily basis with officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) anti-doping program for highlighting changes if any that require immediate attention.

Parkinson said the WADA IO Program to date has proved an excellent means to help anti-doping organizations learn from major event anti-doping programs operate and improve standards globally. He added that athletes should have confidence that WADA will be attending the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games and that experts from around the world will be on hand to assist both the International Olympic Committee and the Organizing Committee.

The Independent Observer (IO) Program was launched at the invitation of IOC at the Sydney 2000 Summer Games. The World Anti-Doping Agency explained that it is now a much more collaborative exercise than it was during its infancy. Fahey added that WADA works closely with the IOC testing team right throughout the event to ensure that any necessary corrective action or improvements can be made during the event itself. He went on to remark that this daily reporting method, as opposed to the provision of one final report, has been well received in recent IO missions, and helps ensure that an effective and robust testing program is in place.

In another development, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach issued a warning that a positive drugs test would overshadow the achievement of any team at Sochi 2014. Addressing the 42nd European Olympic Committees (EOC) General Assembly, Bach promised that the anti-doping program at Sochi 2014 will be the toughest for any Olympics with 57 per cent more tests, due to be conducted than the 2010 Vancouver Games. Bach told delegates from 49 European countries that they speak with their governments, national federations, and perform pre-competition testing and make sure that they, as National Olympic Committees (NOCs), can be proud of their team in the end. Bach said you can win as many medals as you want in the Olympic Games but if you have a doping case by one of your successful athletes, the image of your team is tainted and so it is in your own interest to arrive in Sochi with clean athletes.

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