Bengaluru/Monaco, July 21: The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has revealed details of its testing programme in the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
As per a World Athletics (WA) media release, the AIU's testing programme is highly targeted and intelligence-led and is aimed at the elite Registered Testing Pool that consists of 782 athletes from 77 countries including 315 athletes who are a part of an extended road running pool.
The AIU is the independent body created by the WA that manages all integrity issues - both doping and non-doping - for the sport of athletics.
The focus is on the quality of testing, developing individual testing plans for each athlete, while also maintaining the volume that is required for a comprehensive programme in a global sport like athletics.
Athletics Integrity Unit details its comprehensive and robust testing programme ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) July 20, 2021
Read the release ⬇️https://t.co/qjMyEDfwTY
See the testing overview infographic ⬇️https://t.co/isFmv5GU3N#AIUNews#MySportMyIntegrity pic.twitter.com/SzmoXF5q03
In the first six months of this year, the AIU collected over 3800 samples from tests conducted across the world.
More than 2700 of these samples were collected out-of-competition. The remaining 1100 samples were collected through in-competition testing.
The AIU is closely working with the International Testing Agency (ITA) in the implementation of the pre-Games and Games-time testing programme organised on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Approximately 300 pre-competition tests are planned to be conducted at the Athletes
Village prior to the start of the athletics events on July 29, while 500 in-competition tests are planned to be conducted at the two venues in Tokyo and Sapporo, which will host the road events.
AIU chief David Howman dwelled further on the methodology followed, "The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges, but it hasn't affected the AIU's determination to protect the integrity of athletics."
"While we've certainly had to adapt the way we're running our testing programme,
our clear view was that as much testing as possible should continue while respecting all the applicable health and safety protocols. I believe that the details of our testing
activities, from the start of 2020 to the middle of July 2021, will reassure clean athletes competing in Tokyo that we've done all we could to provide a level playing field."
In 2020, the AIU collected over 4,700 samples from athletes from 90 countries including 4,204 samples collected out of competition.
While the in-competition testing opportunities were limited due to cancellations of
events, the AIU focussed on no-notice out-of-competition testing which led to a number of important cases being prosecuted.
These numbers are approximately 70 per cent of the out-of-competition testing figures in a comparable year like 2018, which also did not have any major athletics event.