Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) The Covid-19 restrictions may have been a big hurdle but it did not hamper the anti-doping efforts in athletics, which has seen 3,810 samples being collected in the first six months of the year.
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body created by World Athletics, the sport’s world governing body, on Tuesday claimed that it has met its targets for anti-doping testing. The report was released in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics. The AIU manages all integrity issues – both doping and non-doping — for the sport of athletics.
In the first six months of this year (to the 15th of July), the AIU collected 3,810 samples from tests conducted across the world. More than 2700 of these samples were collected out of competition. The remaining 1100 samples were collected through in-competition testing, the AIU said in a release on Tuesday.
The samples for the 3810 anti-doping tests were collected from 1377 athletes and included 1244 blood samples and 2466 urine samples. Of the tests done this year so far, 53 percent were on males.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges, but it has not affected the AIU’s determination to protect the integrity of athletics,” said David Howman, the chairman of AIU.
“While we have certainly had to adapt the way we are running our testing programme, our clear view was that as much testing as possible should continue while respecting all the applicable health and safety protocols.
“I believe that the details of our testing activities, from the start of 2020 to the middle of July 2021, will reassure clean athletes competing in Tokyo that we have done all we could to provide a level playing field,” he said.
In 2020, the AIU collected over 4,700 samples from athletes from 90 countries including 4,204 samples collected out of competition.
While the in-competition testing opportunities were limited due to cancellations of events, the AIU focussed on no-notice out-of-competition testing which led to a number of important cases being prosecuted.
These numbers are approximately 70% of the out-of-competition testing figures in a comparable year like 2018, which also did not have any major athletics event.
The testing pool consisted of 782 athletes from 77 countries and included 315 athletes who are a part of an extended road running pool. The 4767 samples — 2475 blood, 2292 urine samples — collected in 2020 came from 1177 different athletes.
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