cacique wrote:and this part made me wince: catheter with "clean" urine is inserted in the bladder or condoms filled with the substitute urine is inserted in the vagina. i wonder, how can someone prepare for a race or competition with these manoeuvers before hand? it must be painful or uncomfortable.
I think that it has not been discussed clearly, but I think that the questionable tests in this case were the OOC Tests in April/May of 2007. I am assuming that these were conducted by the IAAF as part of their OOC Testing programme that puts more attention on those countries where they do not have an effective National OOC Testing programme. Russia is one of those countries that is targetted by the IAAF with their OOC Testing programme, with most of the "Major Names" subject to multiple OOC tests from the IAAF in 2007, according to the list released by the IAAF which showed the number of tests performed on each athlete by the IAAF in 2007.
One of the issues with the effectiveness of the OOC Testing programmes of WADA or the International Federations such as the IAAF, is that to be effective they must be "Unannounced", so officers turn up in the middle of the night in order to surprise an athlete. There should be no notiice given at all, as if an athlete has even 15 minutes advanced notice, they could take measures, such as introducing clean urine into their own bladders by way of a cathater, or by hiding a recepticle (such as a condom) of clean urine in a body cavity that could give the appearance of an athlete providing a sample "naturally".
Female athletes have been known to insert a condom filled with clean urine into their vaginas, which could be burst with a sharp fingernail, in order to give the impression to the observing drug tester, that the athlete was in fact urinating. Some Testing officers do not want to watch too closely in what is a very embarrassing situation for both athlete and official.
Similarly, there have been male athletes that have inserted a bolus of clean urine in their anus, with a tube that runs between their legs and under the penis, with a clip that can be released to allow the impression of the athlete urinating. A picture of such a contraption was handed to WADA prior to the 2004 Olympic Games, which contributed to the disqualification of the Hungarian Throwers in Athens. Both Fazekas and Annus left the arena after the 5th round of competition, supposedly to use the bathroom, which could have provided the opportunity to introduce a clean urine sample into their bladders or recepticle. I do not believe that they took their final throws, as they had won the competition already, but this would avoid any potential discomfort.
Going back to the Russian case, if the Tests which show a change in DNA are these OOC tests from April/May 2007, these were then compared with samples taken under more controlled conditions, such as the Osaka World Champs and then more recently the individual DNA samples provided in Moscow under supervision of Gabrielle Dolle, which confirmed that the earlier samples were not from the intended person.
One of the major problems in the fight against doping is the lack of effective OOC Testing programmes around the world. Of the 215 or so countries represented at the IAAF World Champs (or Olympic Games) at the last count only 14 of these nations actually performed their own OOC Testing programme. WADA or the IAAF OOC Testing programmes would not test as often in these 14 countries (such as the USA or UK) as they would in other countries, and particulary those where doping may be suspected. IN many of these countries, if is difficult or impossible for any foreign Doping Control Officers to gain entry to a country unannounced, as they require an entry Visa which must be obtained weeks in advance. One of the initiatives that WADA is looking into is trying to obtain "Diplomatic Passports" which would not require such Visas, and so would allow Doping Control Officers to travel freely and to actually arrive at an athletes home or training venue unannounced.
In this case, with so many different athletes suspected of using this particular method to avoid detection, then it implies a "systematic" approach to doping, which could implicate particular coaches or even at thae worst case a national or regional federation, much in the same way that BALCO showed a systematic approach by a particular group of athletes. This does not mean that the Russian federation was responsible any more than USATF was responsible for BALCO.
In the USA, the OOC drug testing programme allows the Testing Officers to call an athlete on their cellphone if they cannot be found at their residence or place of training as indicated on their whereabouts forms, and the athletes have a grace period (of one hour, I believe) in which to get to the venue where the testing officers are waiting. This allows for athletes that might be in the weightroom or Training room rather than the track, to avoid a potential missed test! This is to protect athletes rights and is a reasonable approach...
This grace period or attempt to contact the athlete is not employed in the UK Sport OOC Testing programme...If an athlete is not found at the indicated location within a 60 minute period, this results in a missed test, which is why many feel that Christine Ohurugu was treated harshly by comparison..........
The IAAF is resistant to the system as employed in the US, where a call is made to the athlete, as this opens a window of opportunity for an athlete intent on Doping to avoid providing a potentially positive sample, to introduce a clean sample into their body somehow. Unfortunately it may only be a very small minority of athletes that would use such methods, but the technology is there to do it if even a 15 minute window is available.
Freeze dried "clean urine samples" are readily available via the internet, to allow employees to circumvent drug testing in the work environment, from the same people that brought us the "Whizzinator". The interesting thing about some of these "clean" samples is that they can appear "too clean" as they do not show the presence of some things that should normally be in a sample. This was also indicated by the IAAF in regard to previous "Russian" test samples, in that they were suspicious in their purity!!!!
In the future, perhaps absence of certain metabolites or substances from a urine or blood sample, could be just as clear an indicator of doping practice as the presence of a particular drug. This is the movement to more intelligence based testing methods and practice in the fight against doping.
I am pleased that it seems to be working, and also that they are choosing to use the Olympic Games as the platform to be introducing some of these methods. I hope that they will also introduce an effective HGH test in Beijing and also a better EPO test.
It will be very interesting to see if we have a large number of suspicious "last minute" withdrawals through injury from these games as we had in the 1983 Pan Am Games....
Anything that protects the clean athletes and levels the playing field for the "Good Guys" is ok with me....