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Sunday 23, Oct 2016

  WADA President Calls On Japanese PM To Raise Funding

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Speaking at the World Forum on Sport and Culture in Tokyo, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Sir Craig Reedie has called on governments to increase their funding to the fight against drugs in sport during a robust defense of the anti-doping organization.

Sir Craig Reedie specifically called on Japan for stepping up their contribution after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to support the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) efforts to combat doping. The Briton said after delivering his speech Prime Minister Abe should reinforce the message to increase funding if he has influence with Governments. Reedie also commented the World Anti-Doping Agency operate on a budget of less than $30 million (£24 million/€27 million) a year with the world’s doping problems to solve and he would appreciate Japan taking the initiative.

The WADA President added the IOC matches Government contributions dollar for dollar. Reedie added it would be marvelous if, as a result of the troubles of the last two years and as a result of the splendid Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Government decided that this is an investment that they are prepared to make. WADA is funded 50-50 by Governments and the IOC at present with both sides under pressure to step-up their respective contributions.

Craig, after the problems WADA faced with the anti-doping authorities and laboratories ahead of Rio 2016, said he has confidence that Tokyo would be more successful. Reedie added he is very confident that what will happen here, in the build-up to Tokyo and through Tokyo, is in excellent hands. The WADA chief added the Organizing Committee is fully aware of their responsibilities and the manpower that they will have to deliver to conduct the whole anti-doping program and also said much of that will be run by the Japan Anti-Doping Agency, and they are one of the very best national anti-doping agencies in the world. Reedie also said it is hard in his view to imagine a better place to be four years out than Tokyo.

In the last few months, many IOC members have criticized WADA for not doing enough to combat alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia. Some IOC members even called for the body to play less of a regulatory role and more of a direct testing one.

In its defense, WADA chief defended the response of WADA to the Russian doping crisis. Reedie added WADA commissioned two independent reports, with the second of these, chaired by Richard McLaren of Canada due to be completed towards the end of this month. Sir Craig Reedie also emphasized on the wider progress achieves over the last year, including the advent of the athlete biological passport testing system. Reedie also said WADA has punched well above its weight and added we can be quite proud of what we’ve accomplished on modest means. Reedie also said he (while there is always room for improvement) would ask those that question our contribution to consider what’s been achieved; and, to imagine where sport would be if there was no WADA – no global leader of clean sport.

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Thursday 19, Feb 2015

  Russian Probe Is ‘Defining Moment’ For Doping, Says Tygart

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USADA Chief Travis Tygart has remarked findings about the widespread doping in Russia could prove to be a turning point for all sports.

Tygart told a high-level doping conference in Singapore that the probe into allegations of doping in Russia is looming as the critical battle in the global fight against drugs in sport. The USADA chief remarked this investigation that WADA has undertaken into Russia is so critically important right now. Tygart added there are allegations out there that have been portrayed in the media and there are facts that back some of those allegations.

The chief of USADA also said we can argue about the credibility of those facts at this point but there are facts out there that prompted WADA’s investigation. He went on to add that’s why it’s a defining moment, if not the defining moment, where a country that’s alleged, along with its anti-doping organizations, its lab, other sport federations, of doping its athletes in order to win on the world stage.

Tygart added when there’s evidence of these types of allegations, it’s incumbent upon the overseers of the whole anti-doping program, WADA, and its role under the code, to fully vet and investigate the allegations that have been made and hold any people that have violated the rules accountable. He also remarked that ultimately is what gives confidence to clean athletes around the world who are otherwise being held to the highest standards. Tygart also said if one country is not held to that standard and they go to the (Olympic) Games and they win. He also said if that was not done the right way, and the allegations prove to be true and athletes who won in those events shouldn’t have won because they violated the rules, then they’ve got to be held accountable.

An independent commission has been established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to investigate claims of systematic doping among Russian athletes.

A few weeks back, a German TV documentary alleged that almost 99 percent of Russian athletes are doping and using banned performance enhancing drugs. Russia has been hit with many doping scandals in the recent past with some of the big names, including three Olympic walking champions, Olga Kaniskina, Valery Borchin, Sergei Kirdyapkin, as well as the 2011 world champion Sergei Bakulin, and the 2011 World silver medalist Vladimir Kanaykin.

The Russian investigation is focused on the national race-walking training centre in Saransk where at least 20 athletes who trained there under the oversight of head coach Viktor Chegin have been banned for doping in recent years. Viktor Kolesnikov, the centre’s longtime director, was banned last year for four years for possessing substances outlawed under anti-doping rules. Kolesnikov was briefly replaced by Olympic champion Olga Kaniskina, who resigned after she became one of the five walkers banned for doping.

Russia’s Athletics Federation (VFLA) president Valentin Balakhnichev has announced his intention to step down from his job. A few days back, Valentin Maslakov announced he was resigning as head coach.

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Friday 24, Oct 2014

  AOC Chief Calls For Urgent Doping Compliance

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AOC Chief Calls For Urgent Doping Compliance

John Coates, President of the Australian Olympic Committee, has urged all sporting bodies to bring their anti-drugs codes up to the world standard or face a risk of not being able to participate in major events.

A Senate committee heard evidence from Coates ahead of parliament debating and passing law for strengthening the powers of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) that can bring the anti-doping authority in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency that is all ready to introduce tougher penalties next year.

Following a near two-year consultation process, the revised WADA Code was agreed at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg, South Africa last November. The World Anti-Doping Agency will be doubling bans from two to four years for athletes who make use of banned performance enhancing drugs, including anabolic androgenic steroids. Under the to-be-implemented WADA Code, athletes will also be banned from associating with trainers, sports scientists, and coaches who have been broken anti-doping laws in the past and the period in which investigations can start into past doping offences will be extended by two years, to 10 years.

Australia was lagging behind other sport bodies and countries and the Australian parliament should step up the pace of reform, Coates said. The AOC chief added any athlete involved in a sporting body that was not code compliant would not be accepted into the team and remarked it is critical to deal with anti-doping in a consistent and harmonized way. Coates also said doubling bans for drug cheats is a game-changer that will leave all sports identities with nowhere to hide. The AOC chief is supporting a bill that proposes to strengthen the powers of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA). In a statement, Coates said the Australian parliament needs to move on from the so-called blackest day in Australian sport referring to the Australian Crime Commission’s report into organized crime and drugs in sport. He added the proposed Bill changes didn’t breach human rights as feared by some athletes.

Coates, who is also a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, the ASADA act is paramount to the protection of clean athletes and their fundamental right to participate in doping free sport and thus promote health, fairness and equality for athletes. The AOC head also said these amendments are critical to protecting clean athletes and ensuring the Australian Government’s continued commitment to the Code. Coates also remarked the issues here are aligning the legislation under which ASADA operates with the World Anti-Doping Code and giving ASADA the means to get on with its work without interference from any of us involved in Australian sport and added only then will the integrity of ASADA and its work be ensured.

World champion rower Kim Crow, who is also chairperson of the AOC’s Athletes’ Commission, claimed that drug cheats are stealing “the innocence of sport”.  Matthew Dun, former world champion swimmer and Commonwealth Games gold medalist and a member of the International Aquatics Federation Bureau, said he hopes as an ex-athlete that all stakeholders will be able to use the new WADA Code with maximum effect to protect all clean athletes and ensure a level playing field.

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Tuesday 04, Jun 2013

  Doping Still A Threat To Australian Sport

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Doping Still A Threat To Australian Sport

Australia’s crime fighters have remarked that the controversial drugs in sport report has been vindicated by record seizures of performance enhancing drugs. The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has revealed that imports of banned drugs into Australia have dropped since the release of its drugs in sport report.

The Australian Crime Commission was criticized for a lack of specifics when it released a report as many clubs and individuals complained all sportspeople were tainted by the finding that performance enhancing drugs in sport were widespread and linked with organized crime. However, Justice Minister Jason Clare says fresh figures released in the ACC’s illicit drugs report show the sport report was justified. The report said the high profit illegal industry was thriving and the number of detections for performance and image enhancing drugs was 8726 in 2011/12, a rise from 5561 the year before. Clare remarked when the (drugs in sport) report was released earlier this year we made the point that there had been something like a 200 per cent increase in the importation of some performance and image enhancing drugs and we have seen a drop in importations interestingly in the last few months, which shows the impact of the release of that report only a few months ago.

The comments came as six rugby league players were banned for drug use for a period of two years. Four of the players – Matthew Lennon and Matthew Tailford (Sandgate Brighton Gaters) and Johnathon Matters and Jarrod Knox (Aspley) – all gave positive tests after playing in the QRL Brisbane second division grand final at Langlands Park on September 8 while the others were Andrew Zaro (Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles, tested on August 26) and Benjamin Morgan (James Cook University Saints, tested on September 16).  All the six lower grade Queensland rugby league players tested positive in August or September last year to methylhexaneamine, a stimulant banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Clare said these are drugs which are dangerous and the athletes that have been banned in Queensland for the use of performance enhancing drugs were using a drug which has the potential to kill people and added that we have seen an example of that last year in the London marathon. Meanwhile, ACC chief executive John Lawler said doping remained a threat to Australian sport.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) warned the stimulant, found in some supplements, posed big health risks that people may not be aware of. Since August 1, 2012, Methylhexaneamine – also called DMAA, dimethylamylamine or 1,3-dimethylpentylamine – has been listed on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s poisons standard. ASADA said the purpose of this was to prohibit the sale, supply or use of this substance because of its known potential harm to human health and added ASADA encourages any athlete who may still have products containing methylhexaneamine purchased prior to 1 August 2012, to dispose of these accordingly. It issued a warning on its website that since 2010 athletes had been banned from using the following methylhexaneamine-containing supplements – Jack3d, White Lightning, Hemo Rage, OxyELITE Pro and Thermo Jet.

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Monday 20, May 2013

  Anti-Doping Allies Recruited By ACC

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Anti-Doping Allies Recruited By ACC

The Australian Crime Commission has gone all guns blazing and is now looking for a range of high-powered law enforcement bodies to help embattled anti-doping officials deal with drugs in sport.

The ACC has been building a broader network of police and government officials behind the scenes to help safeguard the integrity of sport, with the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority under pressure to demonstrate the results of its investigation into the major football codes. The Commission has been distributing intelligence briefs to stakeholders and has convinced the government to allow even more sensitive information to be shared in the future.

In its bombshell report, the ACC alleged widespread doping and illegal drug use among Australian athletes and the Commission found that the use of banned drugs had been “orchestrated and condoned” by coaches, sports scientists, and support staff across multiple sporting codes. It was also found that crime groups were involved in the distribution of banned drugs including hormones and growth-hormone releasing substances called peptides. After the report was released, Jason Clare, the national minister for home affairs and justice said the findings are shocking and will disgust Australian sports fans and added that it’s cheating but it’s worse than that as it’s cheating with the help of criminals and we’re talking about multiple athletes across multiple codes.

The Australian Crime Commission report caused disbelief and controversy in February after the agency issued a warning that sport was under threat from cheats and criminals. The agency has distributed a classified strategic assessment on Project Aperio to state and territory police, Customs, the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, the Attorney-General’s Department, and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.

The pursuit of ACC towards organized crime figures led investigators to the National Rugby League and the Australian Football League more than a year ago and officials from those codes were only briefed on the threats and not read the assessment prepared in February. The assessment included a series of confidential recommendations to clean up the major football codes and is less diplomatic than the shorter and sanitized version made public a few months ago. The assessment, while the new legislation aims to give stronger powers to the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority, suggests that the government consider leveraging the powers of law enforcement agencies, including the coercive powers of the ACC, to enhance and strengthen the anti-doping arrangements of Australia.

The recommendations were confirmed by Sport Minister Kate Lundy and Justice Minister Jason Clare and included law enforcement bodies and government agencies forging permanent working relationships with ASADA and the newly established National Integrity of Sport Unit.

The Commission is also looking for consistent laws making the supply of drugs banned by the World Anti-doping Agency a criminal offense, punishable by at least an imprisonment of three years, and suggests tighter regulation of the supply of sports supplements, which the Australian government has yet to commit to. A few months back, Opposition spokesman Michael Keenan said a Coalition government would direct the ACC to get back to “chasing the most serious criminals”, but the Australian Crime Commission regards the potential for sport to be infiltrated by organized crime as such a serious threat it wants to re-examine the drug issues within three years.

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Wednesday 20, Mar 2013

  AOC Chief Says WADA Testing “Ineffective”

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AOC Chief Says WADA Testing Ineffective

Australia’s Olympic chief has said the prescribed testing of the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) is ineffective to catch drug cheats and should be supplemented by criminal penalties for athletes who refuse to cooperate with investigations.

The lawmakers in Australia are weighing proposed law changes that would increase the powers of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), including giving it the authority to fine people up to A$5,100 ($5,200) for withholding information in an investigation.

The civil penalty would not be enough, Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates said and pushed the lawmakers to consider adding the threat of a jail term in the proposed amendments. At a Senate hearing in Canberra, Coates remarked there is a case for us to acknowledge that the testing that WADA prescribes, and that is carried out in this country and around the world, is ineffective at catching drug cheats and WADA is not in a position to tell you what to legislate.

The current president of the Australian Olympic Committee and chairman of the Australian Olympic Foundation also added that he thinks the proposed bill is a very big improvement as drafted with the civil penalties, but he certainly thinks there is a case for having criminal penalties.

Last month, Australia has been rocked by a government-released report that found “widespread” doping among professional and amateur athletes Down Under, with the supply of banned drugs fuelled by organized crime. ASADA, in its response to the damning report, announced it was conducting probes into the two most popular football codes in the country, Australian Rules and the National Rugby League.

The proposed changes outlined in the ‘Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment Bill 2013′ has been described by the top athletes’ association of Australia as as “troubling” and premature. In a submission, the Australian Athletes’ Alliance said the bill would grant powers to ASADA that would be insufficiently defined under the amended legislation and would infringe human rights and principles of best legislative practice. Meanwhile, lawyers have also criticized the compulsory disclosure amendment of the bull as violating the right of a person not to “self-incriminate”. The Australian Olympic Committee has been vocal in the recent past in its stance against drugs cheats and will make athletes competing at the Sochi Winter games next year to sign statutory declarations saying they have no history of doping.

Coates has always been ‘more than just expressive and aggressive’ with words and his warning to catch drug cheats before the London 2012 Games is still remembered by some. He remarked the IOC will continue re-testing stored samples after the Games and said the International Olympic Committee is working with government agencies to ensure an essential flow of information in the fight against doping. He also remarked that it is important that ASADA in Australia remains ready and resourced to retest the samples they are already stored as new forms of analysis and information from customs, and other government agencies increasingly becoming available. He recently told a Senate Committe hearing that just because Australia is already a world leader in the fight against drugs in sport does not mean it should not further intensify the fight against drug cheats.

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Saturday 02, Apr 2011

  Sport cheats losing battle

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Sport cheats losing battleA consultant physician who was medical officer to the Irish team at the 1996 Olympics has said that Beijing Olympics would play host to the cleanest Olympics in living memory.

Dr Conor O’Brien, Ireland’s leading expert on drugs in sport, said, “There is well-founded optimism that we will no longer have the spectre of the last 20 years, with almost every sprint champion being exposed as a cheat.”

“For the cheat, it’s no longer a matter of masking the drug: the effect the drug is having on the system is also being monitored. Changes in a person are observed. If, for instance, a person’s blood-count is normally x and it suddenly goes to y, suspicions are raised.”