Fahey says WADA will compel sports to increase numbers of blood tests carried out
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Monday, October 21, 2013

Fahey says WADA will compel sports to increase numbers of blood tests carried out

by VeloNation Press at 7:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Departing WADA chief states that only four percent of tests are current done using blood

WADAAlthough blood tests are often far more effective than urine tests in anti-doping policing, WADA president John Fahey has warned that many sports are favouring cheaper urine tests and that the number of blood examinations being carried out is far too small.

Fahey, who will soon hand over the role to Craig Reedie, has said that WADA is moving to tackle this issue, and that the changes to the WADA code which will be introduced next month will compel greater numbers of blood tests to be carried out.

This should in turn increase the rate of detection of doping products and blood manipulations, thus tightening the net on drug cheats in a large number of sports.

“The sad reality of the research we have conducted into blood testing, which is drawn from the data we collect from all the various sports which are signatories to the WADA Code, is that it would appear blood tests make up only about four per cent of the total number of drug tests collected by our agents,” Fahey said, according to The Australian newspaper. “That's simply not good enough. It is an accepted fact blood testing is the strongest and most accurate test available.”

In addition to being more effective at tracking substances such as EPO, CERA and hgH, blood tests are also better suited to storage for retrospective analysis.

However Fahey suggests that rather than going the extra mile to try to catch doping cheats, sporting bodies and race promoters are often thinking of their pockets and profits instead.

“Unfortunately, the fact is they [blood tests – ed.] are also more expensive than your standard urinalysis test and with nothing in the WADA code compelling the different sporting bodies in charge to meet certain quotas of blood as against urine tests, then too often we have seen them taking the cheap and easy option.

“Even on the urine tests themselves we noticed an alarming number of sports had begun asking testers to check samples for only one or two of the numerous performance-enhancing drugs actually able to be identified.”

He said that once the new Code is in force, this will no longer happen as set limits will be enforced, making it compulsory that a certain number of blood examinations are carried out.

He said that the percentage of those tests versus urine analysis will be determined depending on the sport concerned and other factors, with Fahey pointing out that certain sports have a greater risk certain types of doping to the physiological demands imposed on the athletes.

For example, he points out that cycling and weight lifting are likely to have different issues than pistol shooting.

However he said that once this is done, the new requirements will be enforced.

“We need access to the best available detection procedures if we are going to keep pace,” he warned.

“That means more and more often blood tests will need to be used in place of the old urine tests -- and as we have proven with the introduction of these sorts of measures, if sporting bodies are not willing to move with the times and do what is necessary to ensure their contests are conducted on a level playing field, then we will step in and force them to do it.”

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