Australian Government: Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority2008-09 Annual Report

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Output 1.2 – Detection Program

Detection

 

National Testing Program

ASADA conducts a comprehensive anti-doping testing program in accordance with Article 5 of the World Anti-Doping Code and the IST. In 2008–09, our sample collection program helped to create a sporting environment free from doping – not just nationally, but internationally. Following are some highlights.

Sample collection

Testing Kit

Testing Kit

Sample collection, more commonly known as testing, is an integral component of our detection function. It involves the sequence of activities that directly involve the athlete from the time of notification until they leave the Doping Control Station after providing their samples. We conducted our sample collection program in accordance with the IST, the Code, and our National Anti-Doping (NAD) scheme.

The annual Test Distribution Plan (TDP) drives our extensive sample collection program. This plan allocates tests in accordance with the criteria specified in the IST across a range of Australian sports. The TDP focuses on:

The 2008–09 TDP integrated the intelligence and investigative functions with testing, enabling us to develop a robust and multi-faceted approach to detecting all methods of doping by Australian athletes.

We can test athletes anytime, anywhere, and without warning. Doping control tests conducted with no-advance-notice act as a deterrent to athletes considering using prohibited substances and/or methods.

Checking the specific gravity of a sample

Checking the specific gravity of a sample

Target testing

Where relevant, our sample collection tests are targeted on the basis of specific intelligence rather than random athlete selections. This approach is in line with Article 5.1.3 of the Code which states that each anti-doping organisation should ‘make target testing a priority’ to ensure appropriate athletes are subject to doping control.

As far as possible, we conduct our sample collection with no-advance-notice. This acts as a deterrent to athletes considering using performance-enhancing substances and/or methods, as they may be tested anytime, anywhere and without warning.

In 2008–09 we collected 99.9 per cent of the 4,212 government-funded tests with no-advance-notice and we continued to apply our steroid and blood profiling capability to developing targeted testing programs.

Table 8: Doping control facts and figures 2008–09
7,498 Samples collected
75 Number of countries from which athletes were selected for doping control
2,312 Athletes in the Registered and Domestic Testing Pool
2,052 Blood samples collected
7,492 Samples collected with no-advance-notice
45 User-pays contracts

Government-funded tests

Under the TDP for 2008–09, we completed 4,212 government-funded tests from 57 sports. This test program was implemented in line with article 5 of the Code and involved the distribution of tests based on the evaluation of sports associated with certain levels of risk. An appropriate TDP was undertaken, giving consideration to the higher risk sports, with an athlete-targeted approach being one component of the program. Our government-funded TDP slightly favoured out-of-competition testing.

Further components of our government-funded program were directed to ensuring all Beijing summer Olympians and Vancouver winter Olympians were subject to doping control 12 months before each of the Games started.

User-pays tests

We conducted 3,286 user-pays tests for Australian sporting bodies or other organisations during the year. Sporting administration bodies that contracted us to provide these testing programs included the Australian Football League, the National Rugby League, the NSW and Queensland Rugby Leagues, the Australian Rugby Union, the Football Federation of Australia and Cricket Australia.

We also conducted sample collection at a number of international sporting events, including the cycling Tour Down Under and the Rugby League World Cup.

We worked with our major user-pays clients to improve the quality of our programs, for instance by undertaking blood analysis to further enhance our targeted testing programs.

Other international stakeholders with whom we entered into user-pays agreements included WADA and the Association of National Anti-Doping Organisations’ Anti-Doping Services.

We also entered into user-pays contracts with the Queensland, South Australian and Western Australian governments to provide doping control of athletes competing at a state and territory level.

Total tests conducted

The tests we conducted during the year are shown in table 9.

Table 9: Tests conducted by ASADA in 2008–09
Client Test type Total tests completed
Government-funded tests Out-of-competition 2,322
In-competition 1,890
Total government-funded tests 4,212
User-pays tests Out-of-competition 2,054
In-competition 1,232
Total user-pays 3,286
  TOTAL 7,498

Doping control statistics for the period 199899 to 200809 are shown in appendix A.

Case study: Target testing

The revised World Anti-Doping Code places an emphasis on targeted testing of athletes, rather than purely random selection. Targeted testing is where an athlete is specifically selected for doping control, based on credible evidence. This may include tip-offs, blood profiling, intelligence-related information gathered about the individual, or other analytical and non-analytical information. We have employed these kinds of targeted testing programs for some time.

In October 2008 we performed targeted testing at the World Track Masters cycling event in Sydney, based on the sport’s risk profile and other available intelligence. That target testing resulted in a positive test for a cyclist for the prohibited anabolic steroids Nandrolone and Drostanolone. The cyclist subsequently received a two-year sanction from cycling and disqualification of his results.

This case is one of a number of examples of our intelligence and investigation powers, showing how we work in conjunction with the traditional doping control testing program to detect doping violations that may not otherwise have been detected.

The Tank

We have the capability to store selected urine and blood samples in our deep-freeze facility, called the Tank, for up to eight years. With this capability, we can retrospectively analyse samples using advances in testing technology to detect prohibited substances and methods, and enforce sanctions against athletes who return a positive test.

The Tank is at the National Measurement Institute, a WADA-accredited laboratory.

Samples in the Tank include those collected from Australian representatives at the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Accreditation of Doping Control Officers and Chaperones

In 2008 all of our Doping Control Officers were re-accredited, to ensure our sample collection program remains compliant with the Code and with the new IST that came into effect on 1 January 2009.

During 2008–09 ASADA, with the assistance of our internal auditor, Deloitte, reviewed the policies and processes for background checking of field testing staff (Doping Control Officers and Chaperones). This review focused on arrangements for ensuring that appropriate police and working-with-children checks are obtained, recorded and reviewed for our field staff.

Investigations and Intelligence

ASADA is authorised under the ASADA Act to investigate possible violations of anti-doping rules to determine whether there is evidence of an ADRV as defined by the NAD scheme and the Code.

We conduct investigations in accordance with the Australian Government Investigation Standards.

In the ongoing development of our overall case-management framework, we have implemented significant advancements in our investigative case capability. These enhancements have been driven by experts in this field (sourced from Australian Government agencies, including the Australian Taxation Office) and continued skill-sharing with Customs and Border Protection.

During 2008–09 we completed enhancements to our investigations and intelligence procedures to allow for a more robust classification of information and case status. This was supported by the appointment of a full-time Director of Investigations and Intelligence to oversee a team of investigators and intelligence officers. Information from various sources, including the ASADA Hotline, is now logged in the Case Management Intelligence System as an incident report. If that information is enough to suggest there is a suspicion of doping then an intelligence case will be opened. If, after a thorough analysis of all available information, it can be confirmed that the person of interest is accountable under the NAD scheme – and there is reasonable cause to believe that an ADRV has occurred – then an investigations case will be opened.

This classification of investigations and intelligence cases in this way has delivered more effective investigative outcomes and intelligence products, and more accurate reporting.

We also continued to focus on building relationships with relevant government and non-government agencies to facilitate the elimination of doping in sport. In particular, we acknowledge our partnership with Customs and Border Protection and their effective role in seizing importations of prohibited substances entering Australia. This relationship continues to enhance our ability to detect serious doping violations, including the use, possession, trafficking and administration of prohibited substances by athletes or support personnel.

During the year we successfully built on our relationship with Customs and Border Protection, providing more information to assist them in their operations. In 2008–09 we analysed 1,614 of their referrals of Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs.

We have also continued to build on our relationships with various state police forces and we plan to formalise these arrangements by putting in place a memorandum of understanding with each of these states.

During 2008–09 our Investigations and Intelligence team analysed 401 incident reports, of which 61 were the result of tip-offs and 43 were received via the ASADA Hotline.

Thirty-two new investigations cases were opened, including six from credible tip-offs, 18 from information received from Customs and Border Protection or other law enforcement agencies and the remaining eight from other sources, including the media.

During 2008–09 Investigations and Intelligence referred 21 cases to the Legal Services team. Twelve were the result of information received from Customs and Border Protection or other law enforcement agencies.

Checking the specific gravity of a sample

Performance and image enhancing drugs
Image courtesy of Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

Case study: ASADA partnership with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

An Australian triathlete accepted a two-year sanction for attempted use of anabolic steroids which resulted from a failed attempt by the triathlete to import anabolic steroids from Thailand. The sanction was imposed by Triathlon Australia following an investigation conducted by ASADA.

Investigations into the attempted importation began when a package addressed to the triathlete was intercepted by Customs and Border Protection on 9 March 2008. The package was examined and found to contain the prohibited anabolic steroid methandienone (Dianabol) disguised as financial statements.

Customs and Border Protection investigators seized the package and notified ASADA as a part of the joint agreement between the two agencies in relation to illegal importations of Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs.

An ASADA investigation into the importation identified a serious violation of anti-doping rules which resulted in the triathlete accepting a two-year ban from sporting competition, in accordance with the Code.

 

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