WADA cites five sports for falling short with testing programs

11/28/2008 - Olympic Sports

LONDON -- Gymnastics, wrestling and volleyball were among five Olympic sports cited by the World Anti-Doping Agency for failing to implement consistent out-of-competition testing programs.

Handball and modern pentathlon were also described as falling short in complying with the World Anti-Doping Code, which was approved in 2003 and sets out drug-testing rules across all sports and countries.

The findings were submitted in a report to the WADA executive committee and foundation board last weekend in Montreal. The report has now been published on the agency's Web site.

The world volleyball federation said Friday it has since come into compliance.

While sports that fail to comply with the code risk being excluded from the Olympics, WADA has extended the deadline for six months to give federations and national anti-doping agencies (NADOs) more time to come into line.

"There was a strong view expressed particularly by sport that one last concerted effort should be undertaken for the smaller sports federations and NADOs to become compliant," WADA president John Fahey said in a speech to European Union sports ministers in Biarritz, France.

"There was a clear understanding ... that no further extensions of time should be given for the report to be finalized. During the next few months, WADA will continue to assist all organizations to ensure that they become compliant."

WADA has been monitoring compliance with the code since its adoption in 2003. Signatories are required to accept, implement and enforce the rules and policies, which include provisions for out-of-competition testing programs and doping sanctions.

WADA has no power to take action against noncompliant bodies, leaving that to the International Olympic Committee. Under IOC rules, any sports that don't apply the doping code face expulsion from the Olympic program.

"All IFs [international federations] that are not compliant have until May to take the necessary measures and the IOC is confident that they will do so," IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said Friday.

The international volleyball federation issued a statement Friday saying it had now met WADA's demands to improve out-of-competition testing and has been removed from the noncompliance list. It plans to implement a global program of no-notice testing next year.

"We are absolutely in line with all the rules," spokesman Fabrizio Rossini told The Associated Press.

Modern pentathlon's governing body said it too had met WADA requests to step up out-of-competition tests.

"We definitely are [code-compliant] already and WADA have confirmed that we will be," communications manager Raelene Butler said.

The wrestling federation needs to make "minimal" changes to comply with WADA's standards and should have no problem meeting the May deadline, spokesman Carlos Roy said.

The gymnastics federation, FIG, said it endorses WADA activities "totally and without any reservation."

"In order to become compliant with the new WADA code, the FIG needs to execute [its] own out-of-competition doping tests in addition to those conducted by WADA," media operations coordinator Meike Behrensen said.

This will start "in the next couple of months," she said.

Officials at the International Handball Federation could not be reached at the organization's Basel, Switzerland, headquarters.

Among other Olympic sports, WADA said boxing, equestrian, basketball, bobsled, ice hockey, shooting, table tennis and curling have implemented "limited" testing programs. But the agency said they were not deemed noncompliant because they have committed to establish full testing programs in 2009.

WADA also cited 16 sports recognized by the IOC but not on the Olympic program for coming up short, including bowling, cricket and roller sports. Roller sports is one of seven events seeking inclusion in the 2016 Olympics.

The report said Russia's national anti-doping agency had failed to comply with the code, but WADA issued an addendum that said the country had since provided enough evidence to be removed from the list.

WADA cited several other national bodies as being noncompliant, including Bolivia, Bulgaria, Israel, North Korea, Lithuania, Peru, San Marino and Turkey.