China hails ‘toughest ever’ anti-doping measures

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The Olympic flame for the 2022 Winter Olympics displayed in the Olympic Tower in Beijing on October 20, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

With pre-Games testing and educational programs conducted on an unprecedented scale, the China Anti-Doping Agency reiterated its confidence in the host delegation to deliver clean and honest performances at Beijing 2022.

As Chinese athletes dress for the opening of their Winter Olympics on home soil on Friday, CHINADA, the country’s anti-doping authority, is also pulling out all the stops in a four-year mission to ensure that all athletes from the Chinese team pursue their Olympic dreams in a clean environment. and fair, throughout the Games and beyond.

Sticking to a zero-tolerance policy, CHINADA has conducted more than 7,000 doping tests covering all athletes involved in Beijing 2022 preparations since March 2018, up dramatically from the 1,025 tests conducted before the last Olympics. winter in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The massive testing program has also extended to international qualifying competitions and Olympic warm-up events, with more than 1,100 tests conducted by overseas CHINADA-mandated agencies, despite the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic. -19.

Since December 20, three rounds of tests have collected 1,700 samples to ensure that athletes already included or to be named on the final Olympic list have no possibility of deliberately or unintentionally violating doping control rules, according to CHINADA.

“Our pre-Games testing program for the Beijing Winter Olympics has been the longest, toughest and most vigilant in the history of our country and the world,” Chen Zhiyu, director, said on Sunday. from CHINADA, to China Daily.

“With aggressive testing and severe penalties as deterrents, we also benefit from a streamlined anti-doping management system covering all teams and a proactive education program to ensure that our efforts are transparent, rigorous and effective and that our athletes dare not, have no means or have no intention of using prohibited substances of any kind.”

As part of the education program, more than 1,300 athletes, coaches and logistics staff from 29 national teams or training camps have taken online anti-doping courses.

Only those who have earned enough points and passed the mandatory tests are allowed to compete for spots on the country’s Olympic roster, according to CHINADA.

To reduce the risk of inadvertent doping, whether due to drug intake or food contamination, CHINADA has issued guidelines for athletes and logistics personnel at eight national training bases.

Over the past 25 months, there have been no positive tests among national team athletes preparing for Beijing 2022, according to Chen.

Another highlight of the anti-doping program for Beijing 2022 is the official use of dried blood testing for the first time in Olympic history.

The method was jointly developed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Olympic Committee and several national agencies, including CHINADA.

It consists of taking a small volume of blood, which is then dried on filter paper, which facilitates its transport and allows it to be stored for up to 10 years before analysis.

After a trial at the Tokyo Summer Olympics last year, the systematic use of the new method, in addition to traditional blood and urine tests, at Beijing 2022 will make sample collection more convenient, the cheaper transportation and easier storage.

“This is a great example of technological innovation in the anti-doping effort, which will greatly aid our fight against doping,” Chen said.

The test method has been implemented by CHINADA for all Chinese Olympic programs, covering 400 samples collected before the Tokyo Games and 300 during the preparation for the Beijing Winter Olympics. This initiative makes China a world pioneer in the use of the method for elite athletes.

Underscoring the country’s strong stance against doping, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee officially criminalized doping in December 2020.

Since its entry into force on March 1, 2021, anyone who lures, incites or deceives athletes to use banned substances in national or international competitions faces up to three years in prison and a fine.

Heavier penalties will be meted out to those who organize or coerce athletes to use banned substances, while knowingly offering banned substances to athletes is also a criminal offence.

“Zero tolerance is not just an attitude, it is embodied in a series of comprehensive measures, education programs and harsh penalties that combine to ensure the dignity and integrity of sport in our country,” said Chen.

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