WADA publishes Independent Observer team report for the 2022 Beijing Paralympic Winter Games

IO Report Beijing paralympics

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published its Independent Observer (IO) team report regarding the anti-doping program of the 2022 Beijing Paralympic Winter Games, which were held from 4-13 March 2022.

WADA’s IO program is an important element of its compliance monitoring of Major Event Organizations with IO teams providing an independent review of all aspects of the anti-doping programs as delivered at major events around the globe, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

WADA’s IO team for the 2022 Beijing Paralympic Winter Games was comprised of the following clean sport experts, including WADA staff and other anti-doping specialists. The team worked in collaboration with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to offer advice and assistance as it sought to deliver the best possible anti-doping program for the athletes.

  • Shafag Huseynli (Azerbaijan), Chief Executive Officer, Azerbaijan National Anti-Doping Agency (Chair)         
  • Ilaria Baudo (Italy), Senior Manager, Testing, WADA (Vice-Chair)
  • Mike Earl (United Kingdom), General Manager, Anti-Doping, World Rugby
  • Sameh Elray (Egypt), Manager, Africa Office, WADA
  • Adriana Escobar (El Salvador), member of WADA Athlete Committee, elite rower

During the Games, IO team members visited various event venues on a daily basis to observe how elements of the anti-doping program were being implemented. The team would then meet to review their reports and identify any issues or potential improvement points. In particular, the IO team focused its observations on:

  • Test distribution planning and implementation;
  • Recruitment and training of sample collection personnel;
  • Athlete selection, notification and sample collection procedures;
  • Transport and chain of custody of samples;
  • Sample analysis at the laboratory;
  • Therapeutic Use Exemption procedures; and
  • Results management processes.

The Chair of the IO team, Shafag Huseynli, Chief Executive Officer of the Azerbaijan National Anti-Doping Agency, said: “It was an honour to lead WADA’s Independent Observer (IO) team for the 2022 Beijing Paralympic Winter Games. The IO team would like to thank the International Paralympic Committee and other key partners who contributed to the success of the anti-doping program of the Games, which was planned and delivered effectively and efficiently. Of course, this would not have been possible without the dedication of the staff, sample collection personnel and volunteers who ensured that athletes were well supported during the Games despite the unprecedented circumstances created by the pandemic.”

In addition to featuring the strengths of the program, the report also identifies a number of recommendations and best practices to consider for future Games.