MOSCOW – World athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, will adhere to a new WADA code and happily revert to four-year bans for drugs offenders from 2015 as part of its “unwavering commitment against doping”.
“The new WADA Code, which will come into force on 1 January 2015, will reflect our firm commitment to have tougher penalties and the IAAF will return to 4 year sanctions for serious doping offences,” the IAAF said after its council met ahead of the world championships that start in Moscow on Saturday.
Athletics has recently been rocked by a string of doping cases, ranging from high-profile athletes like Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown to tens of Russians and Turks, among others.
The current sanction for a first-time doping offender is two years, meaning that the athlete would not miss the four-year Olympic cycle.
The IAAF cut the sanction to two years from four in 2004 in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s thinking of the time, and has long called for a return to harsher punishement for doping infractions.
“The IAAF has an ethical obligation to the overwhelming majority of athletes and officials who believe in clean sport,” it said.
“As a leader in this fight the IAAF has built and delivers a program that is well resourced, far reaching, sophisticated and increasingly able to detect and remove from the sport those who breach our anti-doping rules.”
The IAAF added that it has “historically been the pioneering international sport federation in the field of anti-doping. The IAAF began out of competition testing in 1989 and blood testing in 2001 and almost all of the key procedures in anti-doping currently in use have been originated by our sport”.
“The IAAF’s collection of the blood samples of nearly 2000 athletes in Daegu (in the 2011 worlds), as part of our commitment to the Athlete Biological Passport, was an historic achievement across all sports, and continues in Moscow.
“The IAAF will carry on investing in education, controls and sanctions, applying the most sophisticated methods in pursuit of its goal, and using every means at its disposal to expose the cheats.”
The IAAF has boasted that its August 10-18 World Athletics Championships in Moscow will feature the “most comprehensive anti-doping program in the history of the 30-year-old event”.
After two months of out-of-competition testing, the IAAF will implement “large-scale pre-competition blood tests implemented for an athlete’s biological passport”.
“If any athletes show any abnormal blood values then the IAAF will carry out a follow-up urine test. This will allow the testers the possibility to detect for substances such as EPO.”
The IAAF added that in-competition urine tests would be carried out for the top three finishers in each event immediately after the race.
In addition, some athletes will be tested by a random draw and some target testing will be done. A total of between 450-500 urine tests will be carried out during the championships, the IAAF said.