April 13, 2006
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WADA Convenes Sports on Blood Parameters Question

Consensus: Blood Parameters Analysis Helpful in Detecting Doping

On April 8, 2006, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) convened in Lausanne, Switzerland a meeting of medical representatives from international sports federations involved in the measure of blood parameters.

This meeting was in response to questions raised during the 2006 Olympic Winter Games surrounding “no start” suspensions of athletes by their federations following health checks that reported high haemoglobin levels. While high haemoglobin levels may result from high altitude training, some have questioned whether the large number of athletes returning high haemoglobin levels might indicate doping.

Knowledgeable of the varying approaches to blood parameters among different sports, WADA convened the meeting to foster exchange of information and to develop consensus on the topic. Participants (see below) agreed that the analysis of blood parameters should be considered as part of the anti-doping process itself as it can help to identify suspicious profiles. Participants also concurred that longitudinal analysis of athlete blood parameters should be registered in a database, to be used in target testing and sanctioning when abnormal values are observed.

Attendees agreed that WADA should play an active role in the integration and harmonization of such parameters. In the coming months, WADA will convene a meeting of relevant experts in the field to follow-up on the discussions and strategies for moving forward.

Participants: Ski (FIS) - International Ski Federation, Biathlon (IBU) - International Biathlon Union, Skating (ISU) - International Skating Union, Cycling (UCI) - International Cycling Union, Athletics (IAAF) – Int’l Association of Athletics Federations, Laboratoire Suisse d’Analyse du Dopage (Lausanne), World Anti-Doping Agency