WADA’s Tokyo 2020 Independent Observer (IO) report, published recently, provides relevant feedback on the ITA’s anti-doping operations for Tokyo 2020 that the organisation managed on behalf of the IOC. In the introduction, the report states that “in Tokyo, for the first time, the ITA had the overall responsibility for the coordination and management of the anti-doping program for the Olympic Games” and that the IO team “acknowledges throughout the report the many benefits of this new management model when compared to past Olympic Games”.
Throughout the Games, the IO team had a fruitful and transparent exchange with the ITA experts present in Japan on all aspects of the clean sport activities that the ITA managed for Tokyo 2020. It visited 33 out of 39 competition venues to observe the implementation of the testing program, with a particular focus on the selection and notification of athletes selected for the sample collection process.
Following this audit, the IO team concludes that the Tokyo 2020 anti-doping program was delivered in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards – despite difficulties and restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.
The IO report provides recommendations for all involved actors – ITA, IOC, WADA or the Local Organising Committee – to further improve the Olympic anti-doping operations. These recommendations cover various aspects of the anti-doping program from testing, over the collection of intelligence to the various new digital solutions that were used for the first time at the Olympic Games.
The ITA welcomes this valuable feedback from the independent experts that form the IO team and will work hard on implementing the necessary changes to further enhance the Olympic anti-doping program for Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and beyond.