Anti-doping community shows solidarity with Ukraine by testing its athletes overseas

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In a display of solidarity and concern for the integrity of the global anti-doping system, a group of 19 National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) have agreed to conduct – and pay for – the testing of elite athletes from Ukraine who are currently living and training in other countries.

In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) received a request from the Ukrainian NADO (NADC) to help ensure its athletes, who had been forced to leave the country, were properly tested out of competition as they continued their training. WADA then wrote to the NADOs to inform them that a number of Ukrainian athletes were living within their jurisdictions and requested that they be included in their testing plans. Without exception, all NADOs responded positively, immediately making plans to include the athletes and pay for additional tests.

WADA President Witold Bańka said: “The global anti-doping system is all about collaboration. It is about picking up the slack and showing solidarity for our neighbors who may be in trouble. It is about watching out for others because a weakness anywhere affects the entire system. Therefore, it is hugely encouraging to see this level of cooperation across nations.

“We wrote to the affected National Anti-Doping Organizations expecting many of them to agree to organize and pay for testing. We were delighted when every single one of them responded quickly and positively. The war in Ukraine is a tragedy that is costing many lives. It has, however, brought out the best in the global anti-doping community. Great solidarity is being shown. At this time, we all stand united with athletes and clean sport colleagues from Ukraine and do everything we can to support them and maintain the integrity of the system.”

Interim Director of NADC, Oleksandr Guryn, said: “To ensure equal opportunities for everyone to take part in clean sport, every country must have an effective and proper anti-doping program. In this tough time for Ukraine, we are doing everything possible to guarantee the principles of fair play and give the opportunity to Ukrainian athletes to compete internationally. But we would not be able to do it without the help of the anti-doping community. We are grateful to WADA’s leadership and all the NADOs that responded to its call for a rapid response to NADC. With this, you show the world your humanity and solidarity. We appreciate everyone’s contribution to our testing program. We will continue doing our job together.”

Among the 19 NADOs, the Polish Anti-Doping Agency (POLADA) has been working directly with the NADC and providing significant support to its staff. This support has included a commitment to conducting up to 100 tests on Ukrainian athletes in Poland, as well as hosting the NADC Testing Manager in Warsaw for the past couple of months.

The 19 NADOs are now communicating directly with the NADC to plan the way forward. For its part, WADA continues to provide support to Ukraine in reviewing all the relevant information and documentation as needed, and by offering practical guidance. So far, 109 tests have been carried out by NADOs on Ukrainian athletes living overseas during the war. A further 54 tests have also been carried out by the NADC in Ukraine in areas where it is safe to do so.

The NADOs involved in the initiative are:

  • Belgium (Flanders Community)
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • USA

In addition to communicating with NADOs, WADA has also followed up with all International Federations (IFs) that have Ukrainian athletes in their respective testing pools to ensure they are reviewing their whereabouts and continuing to conduct out-of-competition testing when appropriate and as per their testing plans. WADA has also encouraged these IFs to continue to work in collaboration with the NADC, to share testing plans and, where appropriate, to increase the number of Ukrainian athletes in their testing pool(s) and/or to consider testing Ukrainian athletes in competition. The response from IFs has been equally positive as that of the NADOs. Since the war began, more than 200 tests have been conducted on Ukrainian athletes (in and out of competition) by IFs.