With athletics action slowly resuming across the world amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) is also stepping up measures to increase testing of athletes.
The global spread of coronavirus slowed down the activities of AIU- a body mandated to manage integrity issues in the sports including doping.
Earlier this year, AIU launched an ambitious testing program targeting top road runners over the Marathon, Half Marathon and long distances where they carried 350 Out-of- Competition tests before the outbreak of coronavirus hampered the process in March.
Consequently, AIU has revised the programme and is going to organize a number of group testing sessions specifically for road runners in Kenya and Ethiopia. The sessions will be held at a number of locations across Kenya this month.
The group testing sessions will include some advance – notice testing, where the main focus will be on building the profiles of athletes for the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) programme which is central to the Road Running Integrity Programme.
Outside of the top 40 road runners, the vast majority of the road runners have never been previously part of the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) and therefore rarely – if ever – been subject to any testing including the ABP programme. This group of athletes are mainly new to the Registered Testing Pool and these athletes have been asked to make themselves available for testing specifically for the purpose of the ABP.
The samples collected from them will be used to establish the initial values for their ABP profiles before regular non-notice target testing resumes on a much more extensive basis in 2021.
Athletics Kenya (AK) and the Anti- Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) are working alongside AIU in the programme.
“This activity will be organized directly by the AIU in co-operation with their partners, which include the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) among other sample collecting agencies.
“Athletics Kenya is providing them with all the required logistical support for a smooth and safe conduct of these activities in line with health guidelines of our Government. We are 100% committed to supporting the AIU in its aim of protecting the integrity of our sport,” read a statement from AK.
According to AK, the athletes have been allocated a specific time and location to report for testing which they are required to adhere without fail.
At the same time, AK has assured the program will be handled under the set guidelines to combat the spread of coronavirus where concerned athletes and the sample collection personnel have received detailed advice concerning testing during the pandemic that lists health and safety guidelines, hygiene and the social distancing measures to be followed.