WADA publishes Independent Observer team report for the Birmingham 2022 World Games

io report birmingham

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published its Independent Observer (IO) team report regarding the anti-doping program of the Birmingham 2022 World Games, held in Alabama, USA from 7-17 July 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 World Games was made up of clean sport experts, including WADA staff and other anti-doping specialists.  The IO team worked in collaboration with the International Testing Agency (ITA), which operated the anti-doping program with support from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, on behalf of the International World Games Association (IWGA). The team comprised:

  • Matthew Koop (Canada), Manager, Intelligence and Results, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (Chair);
  • Natalie Grenier (Canada), Manager, Testing, WADA (Vice-Chair); and
  • Manuel Villalobos (Panama), Executive Director, Pan-American Regional Anti-Doping Organization

During the Games, IO team members visited event venues 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; and
  • Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) procedures.

Mr. Koop said: “It was a pleasure leading WADA’s Independent Observer team at the Birmingham 2022 World Games. The team would like to commend the International Testing Agency and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for their efforts in running a strong anti-doping program, as well as the International World Games Association for organizing a successful edition of the Games. I would also like to acknowledge the work of the dedicated staff and volunteers, who were instrumental in delivering the anti-doping program.”

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