29 November 2018

WADA publishes Independent Observer Team report from 2018 Commonwealth Games

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published its Independent Observer (IO) Team’s report regarding the anti-doping program at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, held in Queensland, Australia, between 4 and 15 April 2018.

As it has done at a number of major events since 2000 – and as has been the case at previous Commonwealth Games in Manchester (2002), Melbourne (2006), Delhi (2010) and Glasgow (2014) – WADA sent a team to monitor the anti-doping program run by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) with the aim of reinforcing confidence in athletes and the public as to the quality, effectiveness and reliability of the Games’ anti-doping program.

In addition to collaboration with the CGF Medical Commission and providing general support prior to the Games, the team provided real-time feedback to the CGF designed to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the program in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards.

Led by WADA Deputy Director of Standards and Harmonization, Stuart Kemp, the three-person team was composed of international experts in anti-doping, who observed and provided feedback on all aspects of doping control. This included the development and implementation of general anti-doping policies and procedures; test distribution planning; selection of competitors for testing; notification of doping control; Therapeutic Use Exemption procedures; sample collection procedures; the transport of samples and their chain of custody; and the results management process, including any hearings that might be held.

WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “WADA’s Independent Observer Program remains an important way for us to assess anti-doping quality at multi-sport events and to make sure that athletes have confidence in the measures implemented. In the case of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, it is pleasing to see the manner in which the CGF leveraged partnerships with both the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and other stakeholders in the fight against doping in sport to employ as robust a program as possible.”

CGF Chief Executive Officer David Grevemberg CBE said: “We appreciate the important role WADA’s Independent Observer Program played at Gold Coast 2018 and welcome the publication of today’s report. It is an important analysis and acknowledgement of the work, ambition and commitment of the High-Integrity Anti-Doping Partnership that was put in place for Gold Coast 2018 between the CGF, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the Organizing Committee.

“The Commonwealth Games Federation and its Medical Commission look forward to building on these achievements and continuing to meaningfully contribute to worldwide efforts to protect clean athletes and their rights to fair, legitimate competition. After the success of Gold Coast 2018, we hope to work closely with WADA on the development of global compliance standards for Major Event Organizers in the future that are sustainable, affordable and inclusive.”  

As is the case following all IO Team missions, the report includes a number of recommendations for the CGF and WADA itself – all designed to enhance anti-doping activities at future Games.