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The International Standard For Testing

The testing procedures are regulated by The World Anti-Doping Code International Standard For Testing. The World Anti-Doping Code International Standard for Testing is a mandatory International Standard (Level 2) developed as part of The World Anti-Doping Program. Testing takes place in one of two ways:

  • In-competition testing (at an event)
  • Out-of-competition testing (at squad sessions, home or training venue)

All methods of testing follow the same basic sample collection procedures, use the same sampling equipment and follow the same standards for testing as set out in the World Anti-Doping Code. According to this document there are selection, notification, sample processing and laboratory analysis.

The sample collection plan and athletes' notification

An effective program begins with a sample collection plan, that includes appropriately timed, year-round, no advance-noticed testing. The Anti-Doping Body Organizations provide for the collection of samples at times of high-risk of doping and creates deterrence to the use of performance-enhancing drugs across all sports. At competitions, the selection criteria varies from sport to sport or from event to event. Specific athletes are not selected for testing, rather their positions are selected. Out-of-Competition (OOC) selections are typically done by an automated draw.

Athletes are personally notified of their selection for testing by a Doping Control Officer (DCO). Following notification for both In-and Out-of-Competition Testing, the Sample Collection Personnel accompanies the athlete at all times until the sample is processed and sealed. At competitions, athletes are typically notified on the field of play and have 60 minutes from the time of notification to arrive at the Doping Control Station. The athlete may use the 60 minute time limit to cool down, attend awards ceremonies, attend media obligations, find an Athlete Representative, retrieve photo identification, etc. The notification for Out-of-Competition (OOC) tests typically occur at the athlete's home or training facility. Unlike In-Competition Testing, there is no time limit for reporting to the Doping Control Station since the test will typically take place at the site of notification.

Taking the sample

The sample collection process is carefully monitored to ensure that the integrity of the doping control process is preserved. The Doping Control Officers work to: ensure successful testing experiences for athletes, reduce chances for sample contamination, and maintain the security of the sample. All athletes are observed during the actual provision of the sample. Athletes are encouraged to have an Athlete Representative accompany them throughout the doping control process, except during the provision of the sample.The sample is then split between two bottles, labeled A and B with a unique sample code number. The Doping Control Officer provides the athlete with instructions on how to inspect the sample collection kit, distribute the sample between the A and B bottles, secure the samples and complete the paperwork.

The sample shipping

All samples are sent to a WADA accredited laboratories (list of accredited laboratories The laboratory does not know the identity of the athlete, rather reports all results based on the unique sample code number of the collection kit. Once the sample is analyzed at the laboratory, the test results are sent to the client (if it is positive additionally to International Federation and WADA), where the sample code number is matched with the documentation from the doping control process.

Doping control videos (available at the WADA website):