UK Anti-Doping Chief Sapstead: Intelligence Is Being Gathered Despite Reduced Testing

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Nicole Sapstead, the head of UK Anti-Doping, insists athletes should have confidence in the intelligence the organisation is collecting despite the reduction in testing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

While testing in Britain has been severely impacted by lockdown, Sapstead says UKAD’s intelligence and investigations team has not been affected and continues to act on information they receive.

So too will they scrutinise athletes’ performances as measures ease and competition returns behind closed doors next month with talks ongoing as to the practicalities of testing including doping control officers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) while taking samples.


Team GB – Photo Courtesy: British Olympic Committee

In an interview with The Guardian, Sapstead said:

“Just because everybody’s in lockdown doesn’t mean anti-doping stops.

“So whilst we’ve publicly acknowledged there has been a significant reduction in our testing programme, our intelligence and investigations team continues to be very busy – and information is continuing to come in to that team.”

She added:

“They (athletes) should have confidence in UKAD and that we have a system to receive and process intelligence. If people are ordering stuff off the internet from overseas, we will be getting that information from the UK border force.

“As testing ramps up we will be looking at intelligence across the board. If we suddenly see some strange appearances or strange performance times, we will investigate.”

Sapstead’s words coincide with the launch of UKAD’s Clean in Quarantine campaign which encourages athletes and coaches to keep their knowledge on clean sport up-to-date as well as providing a support network.


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