Exclusive: Mystery over eight unidentified adverse analytical findings at All-Africa Games

 

Eight unidentified competitors at the recent All-Africa Games in Brazzaville have produced adverse analytical findings (AAFs), in spite of a doping control programme severely criticised as “ineffective from the start” by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent observer.

The athletes in question are said to comprise three weightlifters, two wrestlers and three track and field competitors.

However, no further information is at present available.

According to the independent observer’s report, “despite repeated attempts, the [independent observer] team has not received any information regarding these eight AAFs…

“We are unaware of the athlete’s name, whether he/she won a medal, etc.”

The 16-day event in the Republic of Congo’s capital city in September saw some 8,000 athletes from 54 nations compete in 20 sports.

Egypt topped the medals table with 78 golds.

The eight-page independent observer report paints a picture of a problem-plagued doping control operation that it describes as “chaotic and unorganised”.

In one extraordinary example of the shortcomings experienced, doping control officers (DCOs) actually staged a one-day strike on September 15, the day of the 20 kilometer walk races and a men’s football semi-final involving the host nation.

Describing the working environment within the local organising committee (COJA) as “dysfunctional and ineffective”, the report states that the independent observer team “witnessed several public arguments between the Chair of the [Anti-Doping Sub-Commission] and the President of the [Health, Hygiene and Anti-Doping Commission]”, as well as others.

The report continues: “The poor treatment of the DCOs was something that the independent observer team has never witnessed before.

“In one instance, the international DCOs requested a meeting with the President of the HHADC to outline some concerns over their treatment in Brazzaville – inadequate accommodation, no accreditation, no transport, lack of food and lack of clarity on their daily honorarium.

“Instead of attempting to discuss and resolve these issues, the President of the HHADC berated the DCOs and demanded that they accept the conditions that were being provided.

“This dictatorial approach was observed several times through the Games…

“On 15 September, with the end of the Games approaching and no improvements made, the DCOs staged a one-day strike where they demanded, at a minimum to be paid for their time (as promised by COJA).

“After one day of striking, a compromise was reached.”

The report concludes that there is “very little that can be taken as a positive from the doping control programme implemented by COJA”.

The entire programme was “generally speaking, ineffective from the start…

“Every aspect of the doping control programme could be improved.”

The independent observer team was led by Dr Hans Cooman, doping control coordinator from the National Anti-Doping Organisation Flanders.

A letter from the Departments of Social Affairs of the African Union (AU), published along with the report, said the AU Commission shared the concern raised, but sought to assure WADA that delivery of anti-doping programmes would be “more organised and effective” at future Games.

 

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