By Erin Greene on 08/03/13 at 9:24 pm
As another season of triathlon competitions gets underway, the ITU Anti-Doping Team takes the opportunity to remind all triathletes and their respective national federations of the importance of maintaining a zero-tolerance attitude towards doping in triathlon and to reiterate that each of you is an intrinsic part of the continued success of ITU’s anti-doping program.
ITU is pleased to provide the following report on ITU’s 2012 Anti-Doping Program in the form of a Q & A.
How many In-Competition doping controls at ITU events were reported in 2012?
At the ITU World Triathlon Series, ITU World Cups, Continental Triathlon Championships, 492 In-Competition doping controls were reported. At all other multi-sport events, there were a further 116 In-Competition doping controls reported. Therefore, the total number of doping controls carried-out under the umbrella of the ITU in 2012 is a grand total of 608 reported tests.
How many Out-of-Competition doping controls were carried out on triathletes in 2012?
305 Out-of-Competition Doping Controls were conducted.
How many athletes were included in the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) Program at the end of the 2012?
Over 100 athletes have had ABP tests completed on them in 2012.
How many Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRV) occurred in Triathlon?
Other Anti-doping Organisations reported five ADRVs in 2012, while ITU recorded two ADRVs. The two that ITU ruled on were both from in-competition tests for the prohibited substance methlhexaneamine and resulted in a period of ineligibility for both athletes. One athlete was from Russia and one was from Lavtia .
How many missed tests or failure to submit whereabouts information cases were reported in 2012?
Ten missed tests were counted against triathletes this past year. Eleven filing failures were reported against triathletes in 2012.
By carefully following its 2012 Test Distribution Plan and implementing its education ideal ideals, ITU is encouraged by the numbers yielded in this year-end report.
Because we had so few positive doping cases at the international level in 2012, while still carrying out roughly the same number of doping controls and implementing the Athlete Biological Passport, ITU can proudly and confidently assert that all the testing and education initiatives it has undertaken in the past years have played an instrumental role in keeping the number of anti-doping rule violations and doping cases low.
ITU is dedicated to maintaining and implementing its anti-doping program and promoting drug-free sport and shall continue to tackle all anti-doping issues with the same determination and conviction in 2013.
Looking ahead to 2013.
The ITU test distribution plan, which has been carefully and mindfully established with the help of our doping control services providers shall, as per usual, be carefully monitored throughout the year. It shall also be evaluated, modified and updated periodically, as required by the ITU Anti-Doping Director.
The monitoring shall focus on efficiency, efficacy and targeted testing all the while taking into account the ongoing importance of deterrence and detection. The monitoring shall apply to both in-competition and out- of- competition testing. The monitoring shall also be based on ITU’s intelligence and shall include the acknowledgment of various red-flags such as significant performance improvements, suspicious behaviour, follow-up testing on atypical findings, filing failures and missed tests, etc.
Athlete Biological Passport
The ITU believes that although the typical doping control approach based on the detection of prohibited substances or their metabolites in an athlete’s sample remains an effective approach to combat doping in triathlon; it has limitations when an athlete may be using substances on an intermittent and low-dose basis.
Furthermore, it is hard to argue that notwithstanding all the advances that have been made in this field, new substances or modifications of prohibited substances (designer drugs) continue to be difficult to detect by conventional analytical means. In fact, doping regimes have become much more scientifically planned and have taken full advantage of the weaknesses in traditional protocols.
These elements, among others, have justified ITU’s decision to implement a more sophisticated and complementary strategy to effectively fight doping in triathlon in addition to doping controls: the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).
The objective of integrating the ABP into the larger framework of the ITU’s anti-doping program remains to identify and to target athletes for specific analytical testing (e.g., recombinant EPO test, homologous blood transfusion test) by intelligent and timely interpretation of blood passport data.
ITU believes it has properly integrated the Athlete Biological Passport into its existing doping control program by weighing all factors including the required resources and capacity to operate such a program. As such, you can all expect for ITU to continue to build its ABP database in 2013 and to use it to effectively and efficiently to complement all its other anti-doping initiatives.
The 2013 Prohibited List: Important elements to consider
The following provides some clarifications on certain prohibited substances that remain on the Prohibited List which have had a particular relevance in triathlon in the past few years.
Methylhexaneamine (MHA or MHEA), sometimes presented as dimethylapentylamine (DMPA), is prohibited in competition as a specified stimulant under section S6.b of the 2013 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods.
There has been a multitude of positive doping cases involving MHA in various sports in the last few years. There were two in triathlon alone in 2012. In many of the cases, the athlete had consumed the MHA inadvertently through supplement use. Under the strict liability provisions of the ITU Anti-Doping Rules, these athletes were still held responsible for these anti-doping rule violations and sanctioned accordingly.
Therefore, athletes and their support personnel should once again be reminded of the risks involved with supplement use. They should also be warned that some stimulants, like many drugs, have several alternate names. Athletes should be informed that methylhexaneamine (MHA) has been made available under several names, one being geranium oil. It can also be listed under a variety of other names, including 1,3-dimethylpentylamine, pentylamine, geranamine, floradrene, forthane, DMPA and DMAA. Needless to say, the use of MHA and all its variant names must be avoided altogether.
ITU takes this opportunity to remind all athletes to carefully read the ingredients of anything they ingest and to avoid the use of supplements when possible.
As a follow up to the various cases where athletes’ defences rested on the allegation that levels of clenbuterol found in urine samples were the results of the consumption of tainted meat, WADA has confirmed its current position on Clenbuterol: Under the 2013 Prohibited List, Clenbuterol remains a prohibited substance. There is no threshold under which Clenbuterol is not prohibited, and based on expert opinion there is no plan to introduce a threshold level under which clenbuterol would be permitted.
The results management provisions of all Code-compliant Doping Rules, including those of ITU, foresee the opportunity for an athlete to explain how a prohibited substance entered his/her body. Therefore, where athletes claim food contamination is the cause of an adverse analytical finding involving clenbuterol, the decision-making body will need to take any and all elements and submitted evidence into account, along with the context of the case, when deliberating on the facts and rendering a reasoned decision.
ITU reiterates the bottom line: clenbuterol remains a prohibited substance. So, if it is found in an athlete’s sample, the burden will still rest on the athlete to prove that an anti-doping rule violation did not occur.
Athletes are, of course, encouraged to get acquainted with all the changes that have been brought to the Prohibited List in 2013. They can be downloaded here http://www.wada-ama.org/en/Resources/Q-and-A/2013-Prohibited-List.
ITU strongly believes that education is the cornerstone to successfully deterring all our athletes at all levels of competition from using performance enhancing substances.
ITU shall continue to offer useful information on anti-doping on its website and to distribute various educational materials to triathletes of all levels at as many events as possible. We will also continue to work closely with our National Federations and NADOs to facilitate the dissemination of these materials. We trust that you will contact ITU directly should you require assistance in this regard.
Finally, the Athlete Outreach Booths continue to be successful at our World Triathlon Series Grand Final Events. Accordingly, ITU shall continue to promote educational initiatives through this informative and entertaining medium.
If ITU is proud of the work it continues to accomplish in carrying out its anti-doping program, it is equally proud to acknowledge the work that you have all accomplished in respecting your obligations with regards to anti-doping.
- To our member federations who have respected their testing, reporting and results management obligations;
- To all medical staff for being mindful of the Prohibited List, offering Code-compliant consultations and properly filing out timely TUE applications;
- To all athlete support personnel who continue to deter athletes to resort to the use of performance enhancing substances by emphasizing the importance of proper training and nutrition and the adoption of ethical sporting values;
- To our RTP athletes who continue to submit timely and accurate whereabouts information;
- To each athlete who has made a personal decision to not use prohibited substances to enhance his or her performance and discouraged others to do so as well:
The ITU thanks you for taking your responsibilities with regard to anti-doping seriously and for protecting the integrity of triathlon, for promoting the health and well-being of all our athletes and for respecting and honouring the intrinsic values of sport in general.
Let us all pledge to continue to be steadfast in our concerted efforts of fighting doping in triathlon in 2013.