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Friday 26, Sep 2014

  UCI Leads World Sports In Anti-Doping

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The UCI president Brian Cookson has remarked cycling is leading the way in which global sports are fighting against doping. Cookson made this remark as he reflected on his first year as head of the world governing body of cycling.

Cookson has managed to bring back a significant portion of cycling’s respect after revelations by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong who claimed the controversial Pat McQuaid overlooked doping practices. Cookson remarked he believes cycling has made a lot of progress already after it lost the confidence of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. The UCI President added one of the first things we have done is to establish a very good relationship with WADA and added we have gone out of our way to rebuild relations with them, and to reshape our anti-doping practices in accordance with their rules.

Brian Cookson added we have had an independent audit on our anti-doping program, which has put forward recommendations we are in the process of fulfilling. He remarked we have completed the process of making the Cycling Anti-doping Foundation operational without any of the UCI Management Committee involved and also said so we have been working very hard towards the things we set out to do. The UCI chief as far as the fight against doping goes and he believes the key phrase is ‘eternal vigilance’. Cookson said we are now the leading sport in terms of anti-doping and added he does not know of any other sport that has thrown itself open to this amount of external scrutiny.

Cookson also remarked that keeping doping out of cycling is a critical part of keeping cycling alive. The UCI chief said it is always his intention to make clear the moral and ethical case against doping and added while we are talking about that, there is also an economic driver here. He also said media, sponsors, fans and the public don’t want to be involved in a sport where doping is a big problem and remarked we saw a clear example of this in 2008 when the German media pulled out of covering cycling at professional level and remarked at one time there were three top pro teams in Germany – at the moment there are none.

Doping scandals have engulfed other sports in the last few months. Late last year, Wimbledon tennis champion Andy Murray criticized Serbia’s Viktor Troicki and Croatian player Marin Cilic and termed their doping offences as “unprofessional.” It was claimed by Troicki that he was feeling unwell and the doping control officer said to him that he would be able to provide the blood sample the following day that was denied by the official concerned. Cilic blamed his positive test on glucose tablets purchased by his mother at a pharmacy in Monte Carlo.  Troicki received a suspension of 12 months for failing to provide a blood sample while Cilic was banned for nine months after he tested positive for the banned supplement, Nikethamide. The ban imposed on Cilic was reduced to four months and he went on to win the recently-concluded US Open.

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Sunday 24, Nov 2013

  Anti-Doping Policy’s Criticism Unfair, Says ITF

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Anti-Doping Policy’s Criticism Unfair, Says ITF

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has labeled recent criticisms of anti-doping programs of tennis by Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as unfair. The world governing body of tennis said it is confident that its anti-doping programs are working effectively.

ITF’s anti-doping manager Stuart Miller remarked he thinks tennis is doing a good job in the programs it has and we’ve had two fairly high-profile cases recently with Marin Cilic and Viktor Troicki and let’s not forget both of those cases resulted in violations for the athletes concerned. Speaking at the World Conference on Doping in Sport, Miller said to him that shows that the program is successful in catching the people it is supposed to be catching so he doesn’t think it’s necessarily fair criticism.

Miller added that anti-doping programs of tennis includes in-competition and out-of-competition testing, with both urine and bloods samples taken and the recent introduction of the athlete’s biological passport, another tool in the fight against doping. He also remarked the game of tennis has also been increasing proportion of out-of-competition testing.

Recently, Serbia’s world number two Novak Djokovic said he had lost all trust in tennis’ anti-doping program after a ban of 12 months was imposed on his compatriot Troicki for failing to provide a blood sample at the Monte Carlo Masters in April after he complained of feeling unwell. The now-banned player said he believed he could be excused from the test if he provided a reason to the International Tennis Federation.

Djokovic, the 17-times grand slam winner, said he feels like he used to get tested more and said he believes he was tested 25 times in 2003, 2004 and he thinks it’s been clearly going down this season. However, Miller remarked there had been no real change in the number of times the ITF had tested the Swiss and added we have got the exact number of tests on Roger Federer and our information does not match what he says and added the number of tests completed have remained remarkably constant as far as we are concerned.

Miller also added that isn’t to say that there aren’t other organizations that were testing him to some extent previously and now doing so less and we just don’t know about those figures, but as far as we are concerned the number of tests remains pretty constant for 10 years or so. The ITF’s anti-doping manager said he is confident the tennis anti-doping program is using all the tools available to it to maximize its efficiency but we must remember, you also need a deterrent effect and prevention effect and education as well.

Meanwhile, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey has remarked that he doesn’t think Novak Djokovic has the faintest idea what his organization does. Fahey dismissed the comments of the former world No. 1 that he had lost faith in the system and said the six-time grand slam winner’s comments are unhelpful and it was up to the sport to do more to fight against doping.

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