“In fact, the number of checks is greatly reduced“. The AFLD (French Anti-Doping Agency) will no doubt have trouble crossing the milestone of its 8,000 annual checks because if it is not stopped, it is running at a pace.”We follow the guideline of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which says that we can continue our mission unless there are binding instructions“, recognize Mathieu Téoran, secretary general of the agency. And in France “binding instructions“Have a name: strict containment. So the AFLD samplers must”take all the precautions concerning places, barrier gestures, distance and limit movement“.
Urinary controls are enough to detect 90% of banned products
Clearly, more controls in competitions because they are currently suspended in France and a large part of the others is postponed until later. There remain those that it is possible and / or urgent to achieve. Urine tests only. It is out of the question to handle blood samples at this time, but the urine of our champions is enough to detect more than 90% of prohibited products, including EPO.
To perform a doping control at present, several conditions are required. The first is to have one of the agency's 200 controllers available because some (doctors, nurses, nurses or physiotherapists) are mobilized on the front of the Covid-19. Then this control must be considered important, that is to say mainly, a high-level athlete from the target group followed year-round or an athlete who “has an interest in being followed”, to employ a dedicated formula. And even in this case, nothing indicates that the control can be carried out, the athlete's home where the sample is taken, must offer the guarantees of necessary space between the occupants and the sample taker. Finally there is the protective equipment: “We had a stock of masks left over from the H1N1 flu epidemic, but we donated it to hospitals, which is the least of it. Remains at the samplers' home, a few mask units but which must be sufficient to fulfill the few missions that may arise.“, explains Mathieu Téoran. This gives us a more precise idea of the range of action of the AFLD during confinement. Very limited.
World Athletics facing the jolts of the world
A more tense situation for international agencies like the AIU. To the Integrity Unit of the International Athletics Federation (World Athletics – ex IAAF), “we manage the situation day by day“, recognize Aditya Kumar, its communications director. Created just 3 years ago from the ruins of the IAAF and Russian corruption cases, this task force of around 30 people with an 8 million euro budget, projects controllers on 4 athletic continents. She projects them where and as she can right now … “Overnight, a test can be canceled due to a measure by the country's authorities or because a controller has just been placed in the fortnight.“Despite everything, the IAU announces that, until the beginning of March, its number of controls had decreased little, even if China had become almost inaccessible. But since the training camps in Kenya and in Ethiopia, two” spots ” privileged for regular and unannounced checks, have closed. “The athletes returned home and are located by the dedicated ADAMS system and therefore theoretically controllable. For the United States, the situation is getting worse every hour as the country enters the pandemic and from one state to another the situation is different and changing. “DAn hour to another could add Aditya Kumar, according to press conferences by Donald trump or the appreciation of the governor of each state.
For the IAU, continuing its anti-doping mission is becoming an increasingly inextricable bag of knots, to the point that we can really ask ourselves: what good is it now that the Games are postponed? “But athletics competitions are still scheduled, like some Diamond League meetings “. True, Between June 7 in Eugene (USA) and the final on September 11 in Zurich (Switzerland), a dozen Diamond League meetings survive for the time in this devastated sports calendar, just like the European championships from 25 to August 30 at the Charléty stadium. Hence the importance, for the moment, of continuing the controls where this is still possible. In particular in certain countries of the east, large providers of positive cases for the IAU, as again in last February, the Ukrainian Natalia Prischepa, European 800m champion, pinched for diuretic residues (masking product) in her urine.
“The postponement of the Olympics relieved us”
It is obvious that, if this whole calendar, which every day loses a little more of its meaning, is cleared, the task of the anti-doping fighters would be facilitated and above all more coherent. What is the point of doping when there is nothing left to run and therefore to gain and therefore what is the point of spending money to chase potential cheaters who no longer hope for gain? What Mathieu Téoran sums up like this: “The postponement of the Olympic Games relieved us and removed part of the contradictory injunctions to which we were subjected“. And placed on the podium of humanity, the priorities in the right order.