WADA Addresses Athlete Questions about Testing during Coronavirus Pandemic

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Last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued new guidance about doping enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic. Monday, it followed with a promised document addressing frequently asked athlete questions.

Included in the nine-item document (pdf) is a provision for “enhanced measures” to ensure the safety of testers and athletes in interactions. WADA and other anti-doping organizations also say that they will “prioritize public health, safety and social responsibilities” where those restrictions come into conflict with its operations, aiming to remain committed to enforcing clean sport while also respecting the global health challenge.

On the question of what to do if an athlete shows COVID-19 symptoms ahead of a planned test, WADA writes:

You should prioritize your health and the health of those around you. If you are concerned that you may have contracted the virus, the priority is to self-isolate and follow other precautions (handwashing, etc.) as recommended by international health organizations. You should also contact your local health authorities to ensure that you are following proper procedures in your region. In an anti-doping context, you should advise your ADO of your situation with your whereabouts submission or when doping control personnel notify you for testing so that they can adjust their plans accordingly.

“WADA acknowledges how difficult this situation has been and will continue to be for athletes as they deal with the strict measures that have been put in place around the world, which are disrupting their training programs and creating uncertainty as to what is in store for their upcoming competitions,” writes WADA president Witold Banka. “The anti-doping community has banded together to adjust its daily operations by suspending or reducing some of its programs, including testing and other activities. As difficult as this is for everyone, we must stay strong. We will get through this situation and everyone hopes that we can return the global anti-doping system to full power as soon as we emerge.”

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