Athletics’ fight against doping was discredited by the former leaders of the international athletics’ federation, IAAF, because of corruption and cover-ups.
IAAF has restructured its efforts and is trying innovative ways to tackle doping. The European Championships in Berlin are said to benefit from this new approach.
A modern elite sport is a rather unromantic affair. Thus only the second part of the French writer’s Antoine de Saint-Exupéry famous aphorism applies. Nothing has to do with the heart, “what is essential is invisible to the eye.” The general public’s feel for all the events at the European Athletics Championships comes only from what they see on the big stage. Yet another crucial act follows for all the winners: in the stadium’s underbelly they have to report for doping test procedures.
Brett Clothier, Head @AIU_Athletics talks to @hajoseppelt & @sportschau about the work of the AIU, combatting #doping and #CORRUPTION in #Athletics. Read the full article and watch the video here: https://t.co/hlw34KBOLV #antidoping #fairplay #sports #news #trackandfield https://t.co/Mwk0qxFJer
— AIU (@AIU_Athletics) August 10, 2018
Here the true winners can be crowned, before then they are simply champions in waiting. Athletes are selected for doping. They are personally guided by a chaperone, without detours, under supervision at all times, to the doping control room. Nine separate cabins have been set up in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, in which athletes have to give their blood and urine. On the tables lie sample bottles and measurement devices.
Because the hunters have trouble to keep up with the cheaters, they do not count solely on the success of in-competition testing. They offer little chance to surprise the cheats. Only the most unsophisticated dopers will walk into the trap. “We do also testings in the hotels mainly pre-competition and also again in a targeted way”, Pedro Branco, head of the medical commission of the European Athletics Association told ARD, “we expect to test at least one third of the participating athletes. So that mean up to 600 tests, for sure.”
Last year IAAF president Sebastian Coe completely overhauled his federation’s fight against doping. Lamine Diack’s era, his predecessor, had turned out to be anything but a glorious chapter because of the scandalous lenient behaviour towards cheaters. Positive tests were covered up, officials were corrupted and dopers were protected.