Behins the scenes: A report from Anti-Doping Organisation Symposium

Posted on | March 23, 2016 | Category: Newsletter

Last week, 14-16 March, the World Anti-Doping Agency held their annual Anti-Doping Organisation Symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland. Recently appointed IOF Anti-Doping Officer Kirsty McIntyre attended the Symposium for the first time, together with Secretary General Tom Hollowell. At a time when the topic of Doping in Sport has never been more relevant or important, the theme for this year’s symposium was Partnering for Quality Practice. As a global movement, the Anti-Doping community faces many challenges today, not least the challenge to restore the public’s faith in sport.

IMG_0486During the course of three days, over five hundred delegates, representing International Sport Federations, National Anti-Doping Organisations, Regional Anti-Doping Organisations, Major Games Organisers and WADA-accredited laboratories, discussed their shared mission: Protecting the Clean Athlete. Topics included Code Implementation, How Science Can Support Quality Programs, Coordinating Anti-Doping and Levelling the Playing Field Worldwide, Applying the Technical Document for Sport Specific Analysis, Testing Strategies, and Developing an Education Plan.

As a relatively small organisation, two of the biggest challenges the IOF faces in their Anti-Doping work are the allocation of resources and the sourcing of expertise. How can we optimise our testing programme by using intelligence and smart testing? How can we focus our education programme in order for it to have the most impact? The IOF is currently working hard on refining their testing programme, in order to make it as effective and strategic as possible. There is also focus on developing an education plan, to be able to connect with the athletes and help create a healthy environment.

Whilst the IOF operates on a broad international level, it is important to keep in mind that the focus of the work is incredibly specific: Orienteering. As such, the focus must be on the specific and unique nature of that environment. What is the attitude towards doping within the orienteering community? What risk factors do orienteers face? How can we best protect the sport and its athletes from the damage that doping can inflict? Furthermore, what can we learn from others who face the same challenges? Who can help us in our work to protect the clean athlete? The main theme for the symposium was Partnering for Quality Practice, something that will indeed be invaluable to the IOF moving forward. Cooperation with other Anti-Doping Organisations has to be at the centre of the IOF’s Anti-Doping work for the continued development of the programme. There are already partnerships in place, for example a consultancy agreement with the Nordic Athlete Passport Management Unit, and the aim is to increase cooperation with other National Anti-Doping Organisations.

The challenges faced by Anti-Doping Organisations have never been more momentous or more important. The Anti-Doping community is united behind a common cause, Protecting the Clean Athlete, and the IOF is a part of that community.

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