Four federations told to tighten doping controls before Olympics

The World Athletics Council has called on the federations of Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Portugal to tighten anti-doping controls ahead of the Paris Olympic Games, following a recommendation from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

In a report published on Monday, the AIU welcomed the overall improvement in the doping control situation between the period leading up to the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, USA, and the World Championships in Budapest last summer. 

However, the organisation recalled in a statement that Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Portugal had been given “clear warnings about the inadequacy of their national control programmes following the 2022 World Championships in Eugene.”

These four federations “failed to ensure that a sufficient number of out-of-competition tests were carried out on their teams” in the run-up to the World Championships in Budapest, the AIU complained. It called for stricter rules to be imposed on its athletes before the Paris Olympics, a recommendation that was accepted by the World Athletics Council.

Specifically, until the Games, athletes from these countries will be subject to the rules reserved for Category A countries, where the risk of doping is higher, explains the AIU. 

A total of 8,466 out-of-competition and in-competition anti-doping tests were conducted in the 10 months leading up to the Budapest World Championships, the AIU said. This represents an increase of 33% compared to a similar period before the Eugene World Championships (6,359), with a higher number of participating athletes (2,004 compared to 1,719).

“We are pleased with the Council’s decision to support the AIU recommendations. This action is tough, but necessary as we did not receive an adequate response from these federations to clear warnings we gave in the lead up to the World Athletics Championships last year,” said AIU Chair David Howman.   

“In this Olympic year, we trust this will be a reminder to all Member Federations that the AIU and World Athletics are extremely serious about ensuring a level-playing field for athletes. It is up to all Member Federations to work together with their National AntiDoping Organisations to ensure their team is sufficiently tested prior to Paris 2024 and the AIU will not hesitate to refer any other federation to the Council if we do not see sufficient testing.”

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