20 May 2008

The World Anti-Doping Agency Highlights World Metrology Day 2008—Measurement in Sport

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is pleased to promote recognition of May 20 as World Metrology Day 2008—Measurement in Sport. Metrology is the science of measurement and annually on May 20 World Metrology Day is celebrated in order to promote the importance of high quality measurement science. The theme for World Metrology Day in 2008 is Measurement in Sport—No games without Measurement. As this is an Olympic Games year the theme has been selected to highlight the importance of accurate measurements in areas such as time, distance and mass to ensure that there is comparability between different sporting achievements around the world and that the breaking of Olympic records are authenticated.

The measurement of banned substances is another highly important area in which comparability of measurement between different laboratories is crucial. One of the chief strategies used to combat doping in sport centers on the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods. WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratories around the world perform an extensive suite of chemical and biological tests in relation to this List, continually screening athletes for evidence of doping.

The WADA, in conjunction with the National Measurement Institute, Australia (NMIA), has been supporting research programs to produce certified reference materials (CRMs) for banned substances in human urine. The most commonly reported banned substances are anabolic steroids, specifically testosterone and nandrolone. CRMs have been developed for these two important steroids that contain the major metabolites of these compounds in freeze-dried human urine at their permitted cut-off levels. Concentrations of the steroid metabolites in these CRMs have been determined using high-accuracy reference methods.

These reference materials have been certified following the world’s best practice certification guidelines including thorough stability testing and the measurement of key parameters to ensure high accuracy with low measurement uncertainties. They are designed to be used in the validation of routine test methods and as quality control materials. Reference materials play an important role in the chemical measurement infrastructure. These CRMs provide a unique opportunity for WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratories to benchmark their methods versus rigorously assigned reference values.

The use of these reference materials by WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratories should strengthen the fight against doping and ensure that high quality accurate measurements are produced which are comparable throughout the world. Programs such as this link closely to the aims of World Metrology Day and this year’s Measurement in Sport theme. Further information on the infrastructure, aims and activities in international metrology can be found at www.bipm.org.

Dr Lindsey Mackay
National Measurement Institute, Australia