- Ban Athletes has a reason to smile now after the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to July 2021. This will allow athletes banned until 2020 to qualify for the Games next year as doping bans are based on time and not events.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) bans are designed to prevent athletes from competing during an Olympic cycle. Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) head Brett Clothier said stopping athletes whose bans expire this year from competing in 2021 would lead to legal complications.
This comes as after the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government agreed to postpone the Tokyo Games due to the novel pandemic covid19.
“The standard penalty under the WADA code for doping is a four-year ban,” Clothier said. “And that’s been designed that way to tie in with the Olympic cycle. But in this case, of course, it’s an anomaly that the Olympics have moved so some athletes will benefit from that,” Clothier said.
Explaining the legal framework, he added, “It’s an unfortunate situation but one that is very clear under the legal framework so the ban is based on time and not tied to particular events.”
The measures to curb the spread of covid19 have barred the testing. He said it has severely disrupted the testing processes around the world.
“We do testing for over 100 countries around the world and there are different restrictions in each country and those restrictions are changing day-to-day, week-to-week. So our normal testing operations are disrupted. We are still conducting testing where we can but there is a severe disruption, no question. One thing that needs to be understood though is testing for us isn’t just a numbers game. We use intelligence and investigation methodologies to make sure we are testing the right athletes we need to at the right time,” Clothier added
“While our testing activities are reduced at the moment, we are focusing on our priority and high-risk athletes and making sure we can test them as much as possible within the limitations we have,” Clothier assured.
“We’re hoping that we’ll see change around the anti-doping world where more organizations invest in intelligence capabilities so that, they can address the root causes of doping and the people behind doping rather than just using the tests as a facade or a numbers game,” Clothier concluded.