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While various bodies do what they can to make sure drug testing is done at major events, the International Test Agency (ITA) is stepping up with a pre-Paris global testing program. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been invited to the table.

In a media release, the ITA wrote, “When it comes to doping, special attention must be paid to the lead time before major sports events – both to discourage those that plan on resorting to prohibited substances or methods to qualify to or prepare for competitions, and to ensure that all athletes are competing on a level playing field at the Games, no matter where they come from. During this preparatory phase it is the responsibility of the respective International Federations (IFs) and National/Regional Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs/RADOs) to subject their athletes to a proportionate doping control plan. The ITA Pre-Games program provides an additional layer of independent monitoring and support to ensure that athletes are tested adequately ahead of Paris 2024.”

In addition to this new effort, the samples from each Games are kept and the statute of limitation is eight years before the samples will no longer be tested. Positive test results can bridge three games, theoretically. After the 2012 London Games, which were initially considered the cleanest Games, new methods were introduced and better testing protocols were initiated. Leading up to Rio and Tokyo, the positive test results from London increased. The long arm of the law reached back and found athletes who had placed well or won medals and had tested positive six, seven and eight years hence. The fight continues.

Expect the positive test results to increase due to the approval of the testing lab in Kenya, on-site in the Rift Valley, the eight-year statute and now the ITA’s new program.

“The ITA Paris 2024 Pre-Games Expert Group, consisting of four international experts from IFs and NADOs (see composition) as well as specialized in-house ITA experts establish a bespoke risk assessment for athletes likely to participate in the Games. This assessment combines a large set of data and risk factors, including testing gaps observed across sports and countries. This allows the ITA Expert Group to share testing recommendations with other anti-doping organizations (these might be IFs or NADOs/RADOs) to ensure that effective testing is conducted globally through a coordinated effort.

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