A damning 55-page World Anti-Doping Agency Independent Observers report has criticized “serious failings” in the anti-doping operation at the recently-concluded Rio 2016 Olympics.

The report accused the management team in the Rio 2016 anti-doping department of “a lack of coordination” and said it contributed to putting an almost unmanageable strain on attempts to carry out drug tests. It was disclosed in the report that up to half of all planned tests due to be carried out in the Athletes’ Village had to be aborted on some days as the athletes could not be found. This report also blamed the failings on financial cutbacks, tensions between Rio 2016 and the Brazilian Anti-Doping Agency, and significant staffing changes in the Rio 2016 anti-doping department.

The World Anti-Doping Agency Independent Observers report fiercely criticized the lack of support, training, and information given to chaperones whose job was to notify athletes of testing. It was revealed by the report that Chaperones were often provided with little or no whereabouts information for athletes targeted for out-of-competition testing in the Athletes Village, and therefore, the majority of times had to resort to asking team officials and/or athletes from the same team where the athletes they were looking for were located. It was further added that providing the names of the athletes they were seeking was at best highly inefficient and obviously compromised the ‘no notice’ nature of the testing. It was also said that when initial attempts to find an athlete in his or her room were unsuccessful, chaperones often lacked the training and/or the confidence to follow up with further enquiries and effort to find the athlete in other locations in the Village such as the dining hall. It was also commented in the report many athletes ultimately targeted for testing in the Athletes Village simply could not be found and the mission had to be aborted and up to 50 per cent of planned target tests on some days were aborted in this way.

The observers said many chaperones did not turned up due to lack of basic facilities such as adequate food. It was also revealed that only two blood collection officers were present to carry out 94 scheduled blood tests on one day at the Athletes Village, which highlights the complete lack of doping control staff. It was also said that there was no doping control staff one day and therefore all blood testing planned for that day had to be abandoned. The report also said transport arrangements to enable doping officers to travel to and from venues were “often inadequate, or even non-existent”. The report blasted the Olympics management committee at Rio and said computers and printers needed to receive and print out drug-test orders sometimes did not work and enough log-in accounts were not assigned to doping control personnel even when there were working computers.

The Independent Observers report revealed no out-of-competition testing was conducted in football, while there was little or no in-competition blood testing in many high risk sports and disciplines, including weightlifting. It was also said that more than 4,000 athletes ahead of the Games scheduled to compete at Rio 2016 shockingly had no drug-testing record at all in 2016.

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