Katowice (Poland), Nov 5 (IANS) The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, on Tuesday pledged $10 million to fight doping in sports and encouraged stakeholders to “join hands to send a strong signal of determination, cooperation and credibility to the athletes”.
Addressing the 1,500 delegates attending the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) 5th World Conference on Doping in Sport here, Bach announced a commitment of S10 million by the IOC to support a four-point action plan aimed at strengthening the fight against doping.
President Bach introduced a global long-term storage and re-analysis programme extended to samples collected during the pre-Games testing period.
“To make this step possible, the IOC is ready to finance the necessary storage facilities for the international federations and national anti-doping organisations for the tens of thousands of samples collected during the pre-Games testing period,” Bach was quoted as saying by www.olympic.org.
“Based on our experience with the storage, this represents a commitment by the IOC of about $5 million,” he added.
To take advantage of the most extensive pre-Games testing programme ever, which will “maximise both detection and deterrence”, the IOC President asked the International Testing Agency (ITA), which is coordinating this effort, “to collect the appropriate samples to be analysed by the new genetic sequencing method as early as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, regardless of whether this testing method is already fully validated or not”.
“In the latter case, the IOC would analyse these samples after the full validation of this new testing method,” he added.
“If the governments would like to match this amount, we would be pleased to transfer these $2.5 million from the budget of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission to the WADA research budget,” he said.
Praising the “great progress of WADA’s Intelligence and Investigative Unit since its creation in 2016”, the IOC President also recalled that “the challenges of doping have unfortunately become more complex”.
“In view of this, the Olympic and sports movement and the government authorities should discuss how to strengthen the WADA Intelligence and Investigative Unit,” he said.
“We invite the governments to a discussion on how we can do so. For such a joint programme, the IOC would then commit another $2.5 million for the next Olympiad,” he added.
In addition to this new plan, the IOC President insisted on the need for better cooperation with governments when it comes to identifying and sanctioning those in the athletes’ entourage involved in doping cases.
“We need zero tolerance for everybody: Athletes and entourage,” he said.