Gold Coast 2018 High Integrity Anti-Doping Partnership set to raise the bar for global clean sport effort

26 March 2018

The Gold Coast 2018 High Integrity Anti-Doping Partnership got underway for Commonwealth athletes today as the Athletes Village for the XXI Commonwealth Games officially opened. The Partnership will prioritise the rights of clean athletes and ensure a fairness-first, values-centred culture at the Games, which runs from 4 – 15 April on the Gold Coast, Australia.
 
The Partnership brings together the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), the Gold Coast 2018 Organising Committee (GOLDOC) and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA); and aims to set the standard for international major multi-sports event anti-doping programmes through its innovative tri-partite partnership model.

Commonwealth Games Federation President, Louise Martin CBE said: “Athletes and sports fans rightly expect Commonwealth Sport to be a beacon for fairness and integrity on the field of play – indeed these ideals are the very fabric of what our Commonwealth of Nations represents. That is why the CGF and its Medical Commission will leave no stone unturned in its dogged pursuit of fair play in the lead-up to, during and post-Gold Coast 2018.
 
“Athlete and public confidence in clean sport has been shattered in recent times and so, we, the Commonwealth Sports Movement, must lead by example and reassure clean athletes that we back their rights to legitimate, fair competition, and we must reassure sports fans across the Commonwealth and beyond that what they are witnessing on the field of play is honest, legitimate sport. Above all, I want every Commonwealth athlete competing at the Games to know that when we say zero tolerance to doping, we mean zero tolerance,” added Martin.
 
Announced in August 2017, the Partnership is a rigorous anti-doping programme designed to protect clean athletes and the integrity of the Games. The Partnership included the establishment of a pre-Games Anti-Doping Taskforce, which has been co-chaired by the CGF and ASADA, and comprised membership from GOLDOC, International Federations (IFs) and Regional and National Anti-Doping Organisations (RADOs and NADOs). By sharing intelligence and conducting testing on athletes prior to their arrival on the Gold Coast, the Taskforce has played a key role in the detection and prevention of doping in the lead up to the Games.
 
Effective today, and throughout the Games period, the Partnership will ensure a strategic approach to testing, striking a balance between the testing of medallists and target-testing in response to intelligence received from the Taskforce. Crucially, it will also draw on other sources of intelligence, including Australian law-enforcement organisations, in order to investigate all possible non-analytical anti-doping violations, which cannot be proven through traditional scientific testing, such as the possession and trafficking of banned substances.
 
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Chief Executive Officer, David Sharpe APM OAM said: “Clean sport matters for every athlete hoping for their moment at a personal best or a shot at the podium. And now, more than ever, athletes need to have confidence in anti-doping programs around the world. That is why ASADA has worked hard with the CGF and other international partners to deliver a robust and innovative anti-doping program for the Games. This includes the establishment of the first ever formal pre-Commonwealth Games Taskforce to ensure that athletes around the world have been tested before they even set foot in the village and is supported by the first ever sample storage and reanalysis program post Games.
 
“Importantly, during Games time ASADA will not only conduct sample collection but will also bring its full range of intelligence and investigative skills designed to expand the reach of anti-doping beyond traditional testing. Our work in this area is world leading, and it is a function critical to the future success of the anti-doping movement. I look forward to working with our partners during these exciting Games to help protect the integrity of sport and to allow clean athletes their moment to shine,” added Sharpe.
 
Australian Minister for Sport, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, said: “The Australian Government is pleased such an important programme is being delivered throughout the Commonwealth Games. The Coalition Government is committed to improving integrity in sport, so all athletes are confident they are competing on an even playing field. I highly respect the role of the CGF, GOLDOC and ASADA as they continue to work behind the scenes to keep our sport clean.”
 
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Chairman, Peter Beattie said: “GOLDOC is committed to working with games delivery partners to ensure we have fair and equitable games. Every athlete, no matter what their sport, should be rest assured that the Gold Coast will provide a level playing field.”
 
The Partnership will also implement a comprehensive sample storage and reanalysis programme. For the first time, every single sample collected during the Games-time period, will be tanked in long-term storage facilities, for future reanalysis under the jurisdiction of the CGF.
 
Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive Officer, David Grevemberg CBE said: “The battle for clean sport has evolved significantly over the years. The CGF recognises that a substance prohibited today might not be detectable through current scientific analysis, yet, with science developing fast, such a substance could be detectable in the years to come. We have implemented a comprehensive sample storage and reanalysis programme for Gold Coast 2018 to send a clear message to doping athletes that if they are not caught through the anti-doping analysis today, they could still be in the future.”
 
The programme will operate under the CGF Anti-Doping Standard, which is being adapted for Gold Coast 2018 by the Federation’s Medical Commission - chaired by Dr. M. Jegathesan, the CGF’s Honorary Medical Adviser, and Ms. Michele Verroken, CGF Medical Commission Honorary Secretary - in partnership with ASADA and GOLDOC. It is designed to be fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code and will serve as “Anti-Doping Rules” to support a level playing field for the 4,600 athletes at the Games. This Standard sets out the rules for the selection of athletes, sample collection procedures and the process for adverse and unusual analytical findings and other anti-doping rule violations.