Friday, August 19, 2016

Doping and Anti-Doping in Orienteering: Part 1

This morning 5 am doping-control came to the Russian national team to take samples. According to the rules (World Anti-Doping Code) ''before Testing an Athlete between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., an Anti-Doping Organization should have serious and specific suspicion that the Athlete may be engaged in doping''.

Such early test 1 day before WOC final looks like the way to disrupt of recovery for the particular nation. According to the recent IOF letter (as a reaction to McLaren investigation) there are no reasons to stop believe that Orienteering is a clean sport (including Russian athletes).

Then it is not clear: what was the point without any reasons to come to athletes so early and disrupt sleeping in the most important period of recovery?? Why it was not possible to come at 7 am??? Whats the difference for testing outcomes??? #FairPlay 

For the moment I have reasons to say that IOF anti-doping policy has really low effectiveness. Athletes have to buy so called athlete license (30 Euro!!) with aim to fill IOF Anti-Doping Fund. Right now there are 929 licenses. 874 are paid, and the total amount is 26 220. Lets assume that it is gonna be 1000 paid licenses to the end of year, and the money collected by IOF should be 30000 Euro. Is it big enough?

Lab analysis of 1 sample costs 150-500 Euro (depends on the particular Lab and particular substances analysis). But there are also costs related with anti-doping-officer traveling/living expenditures and transportation costs (to the particular lab). Lets use optimistic cheap estimation and count costs for one sample like 300 Euro. That means that IOF collected money for 100 doping tests.

Lets take a look on the necessity of competition doping-control. It is natural way (and most accepted by international sport federations) to test medal winners and few runners by lottery (at least 1-2).

Testing all medal-winners for only adults foot-O main IOF competitions (WOC, EOC and World Cup events in Long, Middle, Sprint, Sprint Relay, Forest Relay) gives us the number of 112. Where are resources to test Ski-O, MTBO and junior athletes??

But in-competition doping control it is the tip of the iceberg. In fact the most effective tools for the doping control are out-of-competition control and biological passport. And here situation is awful! IOF Registered Testing Pool 2016 includes ONLY 13 persons (together foot-o, ski-o, and MTBO). Previous periods IOF made maximum 1 out-of-competition tests per year per person from pool in the period when athletes were close to some testing authorities (its cheaper) and without any kind of intellectual analysis of the most proper testing periods (National ADAs make some more tests - but it is another money and another authorities make decision about such testing for athletes from national testing pools).

Biological passport is another weak place for the moment in Orienteering. According to the recommendations it is required at least 5 blood testings (better - 7-9), payments to the special BP-experts and rent of Swiss ABP-software. According to published WADA statistics, only Antidoping Switzerland and Anti‐Doping Norway make proper job in this direction.

In general conclusion, for the moment IOF-anti-doping activity should be counted like ineffective. That's for sure! As for action against Russian Orienteering team with night testing visit - this is against #FairPlay

P.S. In fact there are positive doping-tests almost every year in orienteering. More information about this from WADA statistics, testing figures, discussion about two famous cases of sanctioned O-athletes (Torrum Fossli and Natalia Tomilova), and suggestions about future of Anti-Doping in Orienteering are coming later in the post 'Doping and Anti-Doping in Orienteering: Part 2'.


  1. Very strange that I still do registrations if I'm not listed?! I have been tester those 5times and have registered blood pass also.
    Hopefully more athletes has been into this. Otherwise it is a waste of time and money since I don't even run internationally this year...

    1. You are in the National pool of Swedish Sports Confederation. And your testing and ABP are the initiative of theses Swedish anti-doping authorities. According to the WADA statistics (available for the moment for 2014 - still waiting 2015 figures) only Swiss and Norway ADA made a good amount of BP testings. I agree with you that all international level athletes should have Blood passport (like in cycling), I am gonna to write about different options to improve situation in the next post (after access to new WADA statistics from 2015).

    2. Based on the WADA-statistics IOF did not create Blood passport to any-one.