With the first competitions that started two days prior to the Opening Ceremony on 21 July, the ITA set in motion its in-competition anti-doping program for Tokyo 2020. Together with the still ongoing out-of-competition activities in the Olympic Village and all over the world, these are two core stages of the independent and comprehensive anti-doping program that the ITA is leading at the Games. Targeted doping controls are implemented daily and across all venues and disciplines to ensure a robust and well-balanced testing distribution. Of the around 5’000 samples that the ITA plans on collecting overall during the Games, approximately 3’500 will be the result of in-competition doping controls. Over 50 doping control stations have been set up at the various Olympic Venues. The ITA team is present with 24 anti-doping specialists in Tokyo.
The ITA’s clean sport activities for the Games, carried out in close cooperation with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA), are supported by 250 Doping Control Officers (DCOs) and 700 Chaperones. More than half of the DCOs come from JADA, the rest from National and Regional Anti-Doping Organisations from all over the world. All Doping Control Station Managers as well as a considerable number of DCOs have received advanced training through the ITA’s IDCO Training & Certification Program ahead of the Games.
These Games-time activities are part of a global anti-doping program that started one year ago and that the ITA led to recommend testing across all participating countries and International Summer Olympic federations to promote adequate testing on athletes who take part in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. These Pre-Games efforts were complemented by a large-scale long-term storage project enabling any interested anti-doping organisation to store samples collected during this pre-Games period at no cost in a facility set up by the ITA through a dedicated IOC-fund. To date, over 40 organisations are already participating in this program.
ITA Foundation Board meets in Tokyo
The ITA Foundation Board chaired by Dr. Valérie Fourneyron took the opportunity to conduct a meeting in Tokyo to review the organisation’s activities and to have a look ahead at the ITA’s future. The Board Members were pleased with the development of the organisation since its operational start three years ago in July 2018, the credibility it has been able to establish within the anti-doping community and the solid know-how and project delivery of the ITA team.
Next to the many partnerships for clean sport that the ITA has entered in a short amount of time with different actors from within the sports and anti-doping system, the Board also commended the organisation on more recent actions such as the pertinent report the ITA published on its investigation into a decade of rule violations in weightlifting, the integration of the cycling anti-doping program into its structure, the development of its international training and education programs or the establishment of its own whistleblowing platform REVEAL.
For the ITA to consolidate and manage its rapid growth and achieve the goal of becoming an independent global centre of anti-doping expertise, the Board supported the development by ITA’s leadership of an updated strategic roadmap for the cycle 2022-25. This strategy will guide ITA’s development in a way that is at once fortifying its leading role in the advancement of clean sport and at the same time complementary to the existing structures of the anti-doping system, especially regarding the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Regional/National Anti-Doping Organisations worldwide.
The Board also received an operational update on the anti-doping program that is currently being implemented for Tokyo 2020 and noted the unique and complex circumstances that the ITA team faces regarding its implementation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The many preventive sanitary measures and restrictions in place, such as a shortened period of the athletes’ stay in the Olympic Village, cause significant challenges for the execution of the testing program.
The Foundation Board was also honoured to host the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s President Witold Banka, WADA Vice-President Yang Yang and WADA Director General Olivier Niggli who gave an update on WADA’s activities and underlined the fruitful and important cooperation that exists between the two organisations. WADA has composed an 8-member Independent Observer team to oversee doping control activities on-site throughout the duration of the Olympic Games and to share any improvement actions with the ITA.
More information on ITA’s activities can be found in the activity report that the organisation presented at the 138th IOC Session in Tokyo on 20 July 2021.