International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge says more targeted, out-of-competition testing in high-profile sports is needed to catch the drug cheats following a key meeting of sports leaders in Lausanne.
The meeting chaired by Rogge included the four IOC vice-presidents in Singapore’s Ser Miang Ng, Germany’s Thomas Bach, Morocco’s Nawal El Moutawakel and Britain’s Sir Craig Reedie.
They were joined by the leaders of major International Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and other key international sporting groups.
Drug-testing strategies were discussed in-depth and although the IOC has declined to release details of the meeting, Rogge revealed that all sides agreed on the need for greater unannounced out-of-competition testing.
“There should be more targeted testing with athletes that might be considered as being suspicious,” Rogge told The Associated Press following the meeting. “Top sports should be targeted more than others because of the effect of doping on their performances, and the prevalence of doping. All of that was discussed and definitely will lead to an implementation. Quantitatively, there was no call to do more testing because there is already 250,000 tests a year. But, qualitatively, there was a call to make better use of this testing, do more out of competition and definitely more targeting, both of the athletes and the sports.”
One of the main topics discussed was also the role of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which some sports bodies complained had gone beyond its mandate when it publicly criticized the International Cycling Union (UCI) earlier this year during the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
UCI President Pat McQuaid and predecessor Hein Verbruggen were in attendance at the Lausanne meeting but no WADA representative was invited, although Sir Craig is a member of the organization’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board.
“It was the opportunity for the members of the stakeholders – the NOCs, the IFs, the athletes’ commissions – to vent their ideas and their feelings,” Rogge said.
“We decided not to make a press release because these were informal discussions without an official point of view.
“It was a very good atmosphere.
“People could express their views.
“I definitely think it will lead to very good collaboration with WADA.”
WADA was set up by the IOC in 1999 to lead the global anti-doping fight.
The IOC and Olympic Movement provide 50 per cent of WADA’s annual budget.
WADA is due to elect a new President in November to replace Australia’s John Fahey with the individual to be nominated by the Olympic Movement.
“We are defining the wish list of the sports movement toward the fight against doping that we are going to give to the new leadership in November,” Rogge said.
The meeting in Lausanne comes after former WADA President Dick Pound submitted a report to the agency last week detailing the ineffectiveness of the current drug-testing system.
Despite increased testing and scientific advances to detect more sophisticated substances, Pound said drug cheats are getting away because of a lack of will among sports organizations, Governments and athletes.
The report cited statistics showing that, of 250,000 drug tests per year, less than one per cent produce positive findings for serious doping substances.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. To follow him on Twitter click here. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.