Estonian Anti-Doping: Athletes remain subject to testing during pandemic ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Henn Vallimäe
Henn Vallimäe Source: ERR

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has assured that it would continue to test "where possible" while remaining in line with protocols set out by governmental and health organisations amid a coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the global sporting calendar.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) acknowledged last week that the coronavirus pandemic had created challenges for drug-testers with countries closing borders, cancelling flights, enforcing mandatory quarantines or isolations and the shutdown of the sporting calendar.

In the absence of testing, WADA will have to rely on other weapons in its anti-doping arsenal including the athlete biological passport, long-term analysis and investigations. Athletes remain subject to testing and they must provide whereabouts information.

"An athlete must obviously at once report if they have been in contact with people infected or - God forbid - are sick themselves," the Estonian Anti-Doping Agency (EAD) board member Henn Vallimäe told ERR on Sunday.

This might represent a huge opportunity for unscrupulous athletes. In addition, what will happen to the athletes quarantined or even sick when the testers knock on their door?

"It would provisionally be reported as an unsuccesful test with certain procedures to follow. Evidence on whether the sickness is real or used as an excuse will be investigated and during the procedure it will be decided whether the refusal to be tested was justified. The athletes will remain subject to testing even during the pandemic," Vallimäe reiterated.

Canada has put its doping control testing program on hold until further notice in response to government directives intended to minimize the risk of exposure and spread of the coronavirus, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) said on Sunday. Athletes will continue to be required to file and maintain their whereabouts information and remain subject to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program.

Russia's anti-doping agency said on Saturday that it is also is temporarily halting testing in response to government measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

"Efforts should be made to make the testing and regulatory environments similar in different countries," Vallimäe said.


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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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