Athletics Integrity Unit
The Athletics Integrity Unit has announced that thanks to significant improvements in most of their domestic testing programmes, those countries categorised as being the highest doping risk to the sport do not have any athletes declared not eligible for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 for failing to meet minimum testing requirements as set out under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules (Anti-Doping Rules).
This contrasts with the situation in Tokyo last year when 20 such athletes were declared not eligible. This year, the minimum testing requirements were fully met for five out of the six relevant federations. In the case of the Ukraine Athletics Federation, the requirements were largely met, and the Athletics Integrity Unit Board approved an exemption for seven (out of 22) Ukrainian athletes due to the exceptional circumstances facing that federation.
Under the framework of Rule 15 governing National Federation Anti-Doping Obligations, which came into force in January 2019, national federations are accountable for ensuring appropriate anti-doping measures are in place in their respective jurisdictions. Among other things, the Rule sets out minimum requirements for testing on the national teams of ‘Category A’ federations deemed to have the highest doping risk and considered as a threat to the overall integrity of the sport.
The key requirement in Rule 15 is that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than three weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event. Only then do they become eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games.
For the year 2022, the seven identified ‘Category A’ national federations are: Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Ukraine. In total, 156 athletes from six category A countries were entered for the World Championships (Belarus is not participating) as follows:
• Bahrain (6), Ethiopia (46), Kenya (41), Morocco (16), Nigeria (25), Ukraine (22).
There was a total of 1206 out-of-competition tests conducted at domestic level (not including AIU tests) since 1 January 2022 by the relevant six Category A countries as follows:
• Bahrain (32), Ethiopia (241), Kenya (378), Morocco (267), Nigeria (157 vs 26 in 2021), Ukraine (131).
The situation of the Ukrainian team (composed of 22 athletes) is that for 15 athletes, the testing requirements were met and for seven athletes, the testing requirements were not met, but each of these athletes will have at least two tests prior to competing. Considering the situation in Ukraine and the extraordinary efforts from the Ukrainian NADO and federation to arrange testing on their athletes, the AIU Board ruled that an exemption from the requirements should apply.
“It is accepted now in our sport that national federations must play their part in supporting anti-doping efforts,” said David Howman, Chair of the AIU Board.
“Therefore, it is very pleasing to see the significant improvements in most ‘Category A’ countries thanks to this rule. I particularly commend the Nigerian team. It is amazing what can be achieved when the domestic authorities start taking anti-doping seriously. While there have clearly been positive steps across the board, there is still many improvements that can be made in the application of this rule and we will continue to work with Category A federations to do so.”
Athletics Integrity Unit
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) is the independent body created by World Athletics that manages all integrity issues – both doping and non-doping – for the sport of athletics. The remit of the AIU includes anti-doping, the pursuit of individuals engaged in age or competition results manipulation, investigating fraudulent behaviour with regards to transfers of allegiance, and detecting other misconduct including bribery and breaches of betting rules. It is the AIU’s role to drive cheats out of our sport, and to do everything within its power to support honest athletes around the world who dedicate their lives to reaching their sporting goals through dedication and hard work.