From UK Sport
Athletes who cheat through using prohibited substances or methods will have no place to hide in the UK. Thatâ€™s the message today from Andy Parkinson, the new Acting Director of Drug-Free Sport at UK Sport, and Professor David Cowan, Head of the Drug Control Centre at Kingâ€™s College London.
Parkinson and Cowan were speaking at an Open Day at the Drug Control Centre where over 7,500 samples each year from sportsmen and women are analysed for prohibited substances. This year that figures includes around 1,500 tests being conducted on every British athlete heading to Beijing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is one of only 33 laboratories accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to conduct drug testing in sport.
â€œFrom 24 August when the Olympic baton is passed to London, the eyes of the world will be on us and we need to demonstrate a no-compromise approach to doping,â€ said Parkinson. â€œThe move towards a new, stand alone National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO), together with the well-established world-class facilities we have at Kingâ€™s College and the strong commitment from Government we enjoy, puts us in a strong position to do this.â€
The new NADO will take on UK Sportâ€™s existing anti-doping responsibilities, as well as be enhanced with additional powers and functionality which are necessary to ensure the UK maintains its position at the forefront of the global fight against doping in sport. This includes having greater links with law enforcement agencies to fight the trafficking and supply of prohibited substances, and a more centralised approach to test planning and results management. Parkinson is confident the developments will make UK a no-go zone for drug cheats:
â€œThe establishment of the NADO will help us build further on the solid anti-doping foundation we already have in place in the UK. We are building an increasingly sophisticated, intelligence-based testing programme, are one of the pioneers of what is to become the global approach to no-advance notice out-of-competition testing, and we benefit from one of the best drug testing laboratories in the world. Put simply, any cheating athlete who thinks they can compete or train in the UK without getting caught should think again.â€
Professor Cowan added: â€œThe general perception has always been that there is a big gap between the cheats and the authorities. The level of sophistication the cheats go to in trying to beat the system is well-documented, but that is now being matched by those on our side of the fence.
â€œThe World Association of Anti-Doping Scientists was formed several years ago and as first president, I had the privilege of helping improve better communication between the laboratories. This network of accredited laboratories increasingly work together, sharing information and identifying trends that can assist the testers in the planning and allocation of tests. That essentially means there is an incredible bank of expertise focused on tackling doping in sport which should put some doubts in the mind of anyone thinking of cheating.
â€œFurthermore, our research activities and those of others, help to improve the analysis process. The improved analysis together with intelligent testing means we are better placed than ever before to tackle new substances and methods before they become a threat.â€
A current example of how the Drug Control Centre and UK Sport are working together is a Steroid Profiling project in which selected samples are subject to in-depth analysis to help build more detailed long-term profiles of athletes. Professor Cowan explains:
â€œThe sample analysis process is not simply about determining whether or not an athlete has committed an anti-doping rule violation. Through Steroid Profiling we can pick up anomalies in an athleteâ€™s profile which might not necessarily mean prohibited substances are showing up at levels sufficient for them to return a positive test, but they provide information which might suggest the need for further investigation or targeted testing.â€
Such projects have been recognised by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as being an essential part of an effective anti-doping strategy.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
*The Drug Control Centre is part of the Department of Forensic Science & Drug Monitoring at Kingâ€™s College London. Working with UK Sport to implement the UKâ€™s anti-doping policy in sport, the Centre carried out more than 7,500 tests across 50 sports last year. It analyses samples collected from human sports competitors covering events and training in the UK and is one of only 33 laboratories accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
*Kingâ€™s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher 2007) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, Kingâ€™s has 19,700 students from more than 140 countries, and 5,400 employees. Kingâ€™s has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. (www.kcl.ac.uk)
*As the countryâ€™s national anti-doping organisation, UK Sport is responsible for the implementation and management of the UKâ€™s anti-doping policy. As part of this, UK Sport co-ordinates the UKâ€™s testing programme. In addition, UK Sport provides British athletes and their support personnel with a number of services and resources to help them make the right decisions about what substances they can and cannot use. (www.uksport.gov.uk)
*UK Sport is the longest standing lead sponsor of the Sports Journalists’ Association, with an association that goes back more than a decade, in which the agency supports the SJA’s two prestigious annual awards events, including the presentation of a special UK Sport Award for excellence at the SJA’s Annual Sports Awards.
The SJA Annual Sports Awards are the longest established of their kind in the United Kingdom, having been first staged in 1949. The 60th SJA Sports Awards will be staged on November 26 in London.
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