Wednesday’s publication by the Irish Sports Council of its 2012 Anti-Doping Testing Figures coincided with a visit to Dublin of Senior WADA Representatives including President, John Fahey and Director General David Howman .
Whilst the main purpose of the visit was to meet Minister Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Michael Ring to discuss issues relating to the EU Presidency, they no doubt also took the opportunity to discuss privately with the Ministers , the Lance Armstrong case (and its long term implications for Cycling) which has recently attracted so much attention worldwide.
Specifically they discussed Ireland’s role in influencing proposed new data protection legislation within the EU which has the potential to have a significant negative impact on anti-doping programmes.
In addition Mr. Fahey and Mr. Howman met with the Anti-Doping Committee of the Irish Sports Council to discuss the international anti-doping environment and the importance of levelling the playing field for Irish athletes on the international arena.
The Irish Sports Council reported that there were eight anti-doping rule violations in 2012. Four of these violations arose from a substance found in supplements and four were related to cannabis which is a prohibited substance.
The key data published by the I.S.C is that the national programme saw 787 tests across 31 sports in 2012. This is a decrease from previous years but is due to a more targeted programme and a major increase in blood testing to 133 over the course of the year.
In addition 150 tests were carried out under the “User Pays” service.
Minister of State Michael Ring, speaking at the event said “The Irish anti-doping programme is very strong and I want to commend Professor Buckley and the Irish Sports Council for their continuing excellence in this area. It is an international issue and that is why I was delighted to be able to have dialogue with the senior representatives from WADA . I have made it a priority during the EU Presidency to advance the battle against doping.
Professor Brendan Buckley, Chairman of the Anti-Doping Committee; “The results highlight clearly where the problems remain. We see positive tests arising from the use of supplements which contain banned substances; this is something we have warned about repeatedly. Also, cannabinoids remain on the prohibited list and competitive athletes should avoid or risk sanctions”.
Information was also published on “Whereabouts Failures”. For individual sports there were 18 “Filing Failures” and 3 “Missed Tests”. Three indiscretions of this kind can lead to an athlete receiving a sanction which to date has not arisen under the Irish Anti-Doping Rules. In team sports there were 12 “Unsuccessful Attempts” including 8 in the GAA.
The other highlights in 2012 include significant progress in advancing the concept of an intelligence-led programme and the and the significant contribution made to improving detection of steroid abuse arising from a co-funded research project at the Institute of Biochemistry in Cologne.
John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council said ; “We have worked very hard on improving the compliance with the “whereabouts system”. Progress has been made in some areas but there is still room for improvement. We are very pleased with the progress made in the blood testing programme. Overall we are working towards a more targeted intelligence-led approach to testing and there were important developments in this regard in 2012”
Test results By Sport: http://www.irishsportscouncil.
“Whereabouts Failures”: http://www.irishsportscouncil.