The International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) Medical Commission has introduced changes said to be designed to keep the sport “free of doping” following a meeting at the world governing body’s headquarters in Mies, Switzerland.
During the two-day meeting, the Medical Commission reviewed the current developments taking place within FIBA, such as the new competition and qualification system which comes into effect in 2017 and the continued growth of its 3×3 discipline, and determined what challenges may lay ahead from a medical and anti-doping perspective.
As a result of this reflection, the Commission has revamped its strategy for the current cycle and placed an emphasis on a number of key initiatives, including strengthening FIBA’s healthcare programme with a particular focus on the new system of competition.
Supporting the growth of 3×3 basketball from a medical and anti-doping point of view is also considered a priority as well as further enhancing FIBA’s anti-doping programme, especially with regard to its major events and the education of basketball’s future stars.
“With the new FIBA competition format, expanding 3×3 competition and emerging global anti-doping strategies, the Medical Commission noted that, while we had a strong ‘clean sport’ record, there were some future challenges,” said Peter Harcourt, chairman of the Medical Commission.
“Consequently, the Medical Commission refreshed its commitment to the fight against doping and made significant changes to the FIBA doping controls and education programmes.
“These changes are designed to enhance FIBA’s fight against the use of performance enhancing drugs and keep basketball free of doping.
“We all wanted to retain basketball as a ‘clean game’ and help protect the sport we love.”
The 12-person Medical Commission, which is in place for a five-year term, from 2014 to 2019, claimed that this year saw an unprecedented number of doping controls performed in the lead-up to and during the 10 Continental Championships.
An extensive anti-doping programme carried out by FIBA last year confirmed that basketball is a low-risk doping sport, according to officials in October 2014.
More than 300 samples were collected over the course of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, the FIBA World Championship for women and the FIBA Under-17 World Championships for men and women, with a minimum of three players tested per team.
The testing was carried out to establish athlete biological passports and to detect human growth hormones and erythropoietin (EPO) among others.
The findings showed that no prohibited substances were detected in any of the samples.
Details of FIBA’s new competition and qualification system were released in September.
It is hoped the system, unveiled at a press conference during the EuroBasket 2015 event in Lille, France, will generate more exposure for the sport.
The modified calendar, includes a revamped qualification process for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, recently awarded to China, and will have a direct effect on how teams can secure places at the Olympic Games in Tokyo the following year.
Under the qualification system, seven countries, made up of the two highest ranking European and Americas teams and the top performing African, Asian and Oceania side at the 2019 Basketball World Cup, will earn a berth at Tokyo 2020.
The other teams will have to battle it out in Olympic qualifying tournaments.
To earn qualification for the World Cup, held every four years, competing countries across the four continents – Europe, Americas, Africa and Asia Pacific – will now be split into two divisions, A and B, to correspond with their ability level.
By Daniel Etchells
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, www.insidethegames.biz