Ministerial statement: Most comprehensive anti-doping program for Australian Olympic and Paralympic athletes

16 February 2012

Minister for Sport Mark Arbib today announced Australian athletes attempting to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games would face the most comprehensive anti-doping program Australia has ever put together for a major sporting event.

Senator Arbib said the Government through the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority (ASADA) would invest more than $1 million in the word-class Pure Performance program to conduct more than 1000 blood and urine tests across Olympic and Paralympic athletes in the lead up to London.

“The Australian Government is committed to supporting Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic teams achieve great results in London,” Senator Arbib said.

“With five months to the London Games we want to ensure that our athletes belong to a culture free from doping, where performance is based on an athlete’s talent, determination, courage and honesty.

“Pure Performance is a world-leading anti-doping program that will give our athletes the confidence to proudly compete drug-free on the world stage.

“We don't want doping cheats to tarnish the great contribution that sport makes to our nation. Athletes who dope risk their health, risk their careers, and risk their reputation.

“We want to be able to look upon our athletes wearing the green and gold in London with pride knowing they‘ve undergone rigorous anti-doping testing.”

The Australian Government is investing $170 million in high performance sport, including the Australian Institute of Sport, to ensure Australia’s elite athletes are supported in the lead-up to the London Games.

Senator Arbib said the Australian Government owed it to the Australian public to protect this investment and the integrity of sport by ensuring that Australia has in place a world-leading anti-doping program.

“Internationally the net is tightening on doping cheats and athletes can be assured that the Australian Government is doing everything possible to protect their right to compete on an even playing field.”

ASADA’s chief executive Aurora Andruska said ASADA would apply more than 20 years of anti-doping experience to coordinate programs that deterred doping. This includes the best ASADA has to offer in the areas of testing; investigations and intelligence; education and awareness raising; and enforcement.

“We have given our assurance to the government, and the Australian Olympic and Paralympic Committees that we will provide athletes heading to London with the most comprehensive anti-doping program. This means testing anytime and anyplace, including overseas,” Ms Andruska said.

“The Olympic oath sworn by all competitors pledges a commitment to a sport without doping and without drugs. 
“For Australian athletes to be true to the Olympic oath, ASADA will deliver pre-Games anti-doping programs that I believe are world’s best practice.”

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates AC said ASADA’s Pure Performance Program had the AOC’S full backing.

“These tests will be part of a global effort to weed out the cheats before and during the London 2012 Games,” Mr Coates said.

“The AOC is not embarrassed when a doping cheat is uncovered. It proves the testing and the other procedures in place are working. Our policy has not changed - it is one of zero tolerance.”

Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) President Greg Hartung said it was fitting that the 2012 Australian Paralympic Team, the largest ever sent by the APC to a Paralympic Games overseas, would be provided with Australia’s largest ever anti-doping program.

“The APC fiercely protects the rights of all Australian Paralympic athletes to compete in doping-free sport, and acknowledges ASADA’s ongoing commitment to detect, deter and prevent doping in sport,” Mr Hartung said.

  • More than 10,000 athletes will compete across 26 Olympic and 20 Paralympic sports.
  • Australia aims to qualify a team of approximately 420 Olympic athletes and 165 Paralympic athletes.
  • The 2012 London Paralympic Games will see the largest Australian team ever sent to a Games.
  • London officials have publicly stated that the 2012 Games will have the toughest anti-doping program in history.
  • The London organising committee has worked closely with the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency and UK Anti-Doping to ensure the most comprehensive testing program is in place at the Games.
  • Fifty per cent of the athletes will be tested at the Games (some 5,000 athletes), and all the medallists will be tested.
  • A minimum of 10 per cent of tests at the Games will be blood tests.
  • Anti-doping staff at the Games will include 700 chaperones, 230 doping control officers and 100 blood control officers.