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IAAF to collect blood samples of only one-third athletes who are set to take part at the World Championships

227   //    18 Aug 2015, 23:00 IST
The Bird’s Nest, the venue for the World Championships in Beijing

The International Association of Athletics Federation is all set to relinquish its policy of conducting blood tests on every athlete during the forthcoming World Championships in Beijing, The Guardian reports.

It is learnt that the apex body are looking to take the samples of just one-third of the total athletes. A statement released by the governing body read:

“The most important time to be testing many of the athletes is during the off-season when the heavy training loads are taking place. That approach is no secret – but it is often easier for sports to simply pile on the tests during the event itself and claim a successful anti-doping programme.

“The reality is far from it. The testing in Beijing is important – but nowhere near as important as a truly non-notice out-of-competition (OOC) programme conducted during the preceding six months or longer,” it read.

When enquired why the federation was opting to go for such a move, A spokesperson said that the development of the biological passport and that has proved to be vital tool i pursuing anti-doping violations.

“Another two years on, the passport is now well established and it has proved an effective tool not only for pursuing anti-doping rule violations but also as an intelligence source for the target testing of specific athletes,” 

“The IAAF will be collecting between 600 and 700 blood samples at these championships and the majority of these will be targeted samples. The focus this time around will be on detection and elite athletes rather than deterrence and mass screening,” he said.

The apex body also said that its out-of-competition testing that has been set up is intelligence-led and has been specifically targeted based on the known risks.

“The out-of-competition testing has been intelligence-led, and specifically targeted based on known risk factors for doping.

“The IAAF also liaises closely with the various national anti-doping agencies to ensure that its own OOC testing is maximised, concentrating on filling the gaps where no effective national testing programmes exist. Other times that are just as important to test include, for example, the lead-up to the qualification events or when we know that athletes are chasing qualification marks/times,” it said.

The IAAF also said that they were using several specialist analysis even if they were costly anf difficult to coordinate.

The IAAF is heavily utilising specialist analysis such as the IRMS (isotope-ratio mass spectrometry) test for EPO and HGH.

“While it is more expensive and at times harder to coordinate, it is crucial that as often as possible the tests are analysed for all possible banned substances, based on the risk factors for the relevant discipline,” they concluded.

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