The International Testing Agency (ITA) has been supporting FINA with its out-of-competition (OOC) testing strategy since January 1, 2019, and the robust plan has seen many significant benefits.
The main focus for the 2021 testing year is the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Due to the Olympics falling approximately half way through the year, the testing programme has been divided into two halves, pre-Games and post-Games.
The majority of FINA’s OOC doping control programme is focused on the pre-Games period due to the increased doping risk that comes with an Olympic Games.
The ITA will be collecting approximately 3200 samples during the pre-Games testing period (number can vary depending on the rapidly-evolving sanitary situation). Reinforced controls are being implemented ahead of the remaining Olympic qualification events (diving, artistic swimming, open water), National Olympic Trials (swimming) and ahead of the Olympic Games itself.
Due to the volume of competing athletes, the ITA pre-Games Expert Group, on which FINA Bureau Member Dr. Margo Mountjoy sits, have issued a large number of testing recommendations specifically tailored towards the aquatic disciplines. Meeting the recommendations is a combined effort between FINA and the athlete’s National Anti-Doping Agency (NADO), therefore collaboration is key. The ITA has already started liaising with NADOs to implement a collaborative testing programme that aims at fulfilling the pre-games testing recommendations for targeted athletes.
The ITA is ensuring the volume of additional analysis conducted meets the requirements set out by WADA.