The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published its Independent Observer (IO) Team’s Report regarding the anti-doping program at the 2019 African Games held in Rabat, Morocco, from 19-31 August 2019.
As it has done at a number of major events since 2000, WADA sent a team to monitor the anti-doping program that was run by the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) 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 collaborating with ANOCA and providing general support prior to the Games, the team also provided ANOCA with real-time feedback designed to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the program in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards.
Led by Sophie Berwick, an anti-doping consultant, the four-person team was composed of experts in anti-doping from the African continent who observed and provided feedback on all aspects of doping control. This included the implementation of general anti-doping policies and procedures; test distribution planning; implementation of the out-of-competition and in-competition testing programs; athlete selection and notification for testing; Therapeutic Use Exemptions procedures; sample collection procedures; the transport of samples and their chain of custody; and, the results management process – including hearings that were held during the IO Team’s presence.
Ms. Berwick said: “The 12th African Games were geared towards promoting fair play and working with internal and external stakeholders to protect clean athletes and promote clean sport. The anti-doping program that was implemented during these Games was a massive step forward in terms of quality and execution, and it is our hope that Ghana – who will host the 13th edition of the African Games in 2023 – as well as all African countries hosting Major Events, will support and commit further to the fight against doping in sports, by making use of this report and ensuring that the fight against doping continues to progress in the region.”
As is the case following all IO Team missions, the report includes a number of recommendations for ANOCA and WADA itself – all designed to enhance anti-doping activities at future Games.