A Wada report into the anti-doping operation employed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games has criticised “serious failings”, with up to half of all planned drug tests aborted on some days because the athletes could not be found.
The 55-page World Anti-Doping Agency Independent Observers report accused the management team in the Rio 2016 anti-doping department of “a lack of coordination”, which it said contributed to putting an almost unmanageable strain on drug testing at competition venues and the Athletes Village.
The build-up to the 2016 Olympics was dominated by a doping scandal, with Russia not given a blanket ban from the event despite revelations of state-sponsored doping. Russia was banned from the Rio Paralympics, however.
As well as a “lack of coordination/unified approach” among the Rio 2016 anti-doping department management, the report also blamed the failings on “budget and operational cutbacks” which meant fewer resources for anti-doping, tensions between Rio 2016 and the Brazilian Anti-Doping Agency and significant staffing changes in the Rio 2016 anti-doping department one year before the Games.
It was fiercely critical of the lack of support, training and information given to chaperones whose job it was to notify athletes of testing. “Chaperones were often provided with little or no whereabouts information for athletes targeted for out-of-competition testing in the Athletes Village, and therefore, the majority of times had to resort to asking team officials and/or athletes from the same team where the athletes they were looking for were located,” said the report.
“The IO report shows that it was a successful Olympic Games with a successful anti-doping programme. The integrity of the programme was ensured despite some challenges the Organising Committee had to overcome. I would like to thank all the involved experts, staff and volunteers”, Dr Richard Budgett, the IOC’s Medical and Scientific Director, emphasised.