Ministerial statement: Australia hosts first international anti-doping intelligence course

10 March 2012

The global effort to eliminate doping from sport has been given a boost following the completion of the first international anti-doping intelligence course run by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA).

Minister for Sport Mark Arbib said anti-doping agencies from Qatar, Singapore and Japan were given special insight into how ASADA uses intelligence to maximise the detection of possible anti-doping rule violations.

They were also advised of the importance of information sharing between anti-doping authorities and law enforcement agencies.

“The Australian Government wants to play our part towards building the anti-doping capacity of other countries so when Australian athletes travel overseas to compete they do so on an equal footing,” Senator Arbib said.

“There is increasing evidence that doping in sport is becoming more sophisticated and remains a real threat to the integrity of sport around the world.

“Using intelligence to catch drug cheats is the way of the future in anti-doping and to help achieve a world-wide harmonised approach to anti-doping we are delighted to share what we have learnt in this area with the international anti-doping community.

“Australia has been at the forefront of the fight against drug cheats for the past two decades and Australia’s John Fahey is the current president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).”

ASADA Chief Executive Officer Aurora Andruska said ASADA focused on acquiring intelligence from a number of sources, including law enforcement agencies, to complement its more traditional testing program and to assist with its investigations of non-analytical cases.

Ms Andruska said ASADA’s anti-doping program involved a range of information-gathering strategies to support efforts to prove the use, possession and trafficking of prohibited substances.

“Not everyone would be aware that in Australia during 2009–10 about a third of the athletes banned from sport for doping violations were caught without ever returning a positive result on a traditional doping test, and intelligence played a key role in that,” Ms Andruska said.

“Other athletes caught by a traditional doping test may also have been target-tested based on intelligence received from other agencies.”

Yeo Say Po, General Manager of Anti-Doping Singapore said Australia was very sophisticated in the use of intelligence in anti-doping and that the information shared in the course had been invaluable.

“Intelligence has increasingly become a critical feature of effective anti-doping activities in all countries and this type of course is vital as we implement international best practice into our own testing program,” she said.