Wada report exposes ‘serious anti-doping failings’ at Rio Olympics

The World Anti-Doping Agency report on the anti-doping methods employed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games has criticized “Serious failings”. It only shows that the system was only saved from collapsing by the enormous resourcefulness and goodwill of some key staff.

Its 55-page Independent Observers report, which blamed primarily on budget cuts and major staff shortages, lack of coordination and tension between the local organizing committee and Brazil’s anti-doping agency, found that, 4125 out of 11470 athletes had no record of any testing in 2016 of whom 1913 were competing in 10 “higher-risk sports”

Moreover, Nearly 100 samples were not matched to an athlete because of data entry errors. One missing sample was not located until two weeks after the Games. Almost 500 fewer drugs tests were carried out and less than 10% of biological passport samples were taken than planned at this summer’s Olympics.

“The aggregate effect was to strain the basic sample collection process at competition venues and in the Athletes’ Village close to breaking point, with many discrepancies observed in the sample collection procedure,” the report said. “Ultimately, it was only due to the enormous resourcefulness and goodwill of some key doping control personnel working at the Games that the process did not break down entirely.

The report further reveals, “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.

“Providing the names of the athletes they were seeking was (at best) highly inefficient and obviously compromised the “no notice” nature of the testing. In addition, 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).

The report also said 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”. The Independent Observers said they found this “surprising”.

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