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The fight against doping in orienteering

Doping is a threat to any sport and the IOF do their part to fight for a clean sport. The past year, the IOF has worked with a new more professional and organized strategy to make the testing even more efficient.

Any sport with a professional set-up, that wants to be taken seriously has an Anti-Doping programme. And so does the International Orienteering Federation. But why spend time and resources on the doping issue?

­– The main goal is to prevent doping in orienteering. Protecting the health of the athletes and the fairness of the sport are at the heart of the Anti-Doping work, says Kirsty McIntyre, IOF Anti-Doping Officer.

The IOF has different ways to fight and prevent doping. Most focus is on doping-tests as deterrence, and to catch those, if any, who cheat. Besides that, the organization does work with education and information. All in collaboration with the World Anti-Doping agency, WADA, and national Anti-Doping authorities.

At the end of last year, the IOF decided to centralize the Anti-Doping work. This included hiring Kirsty McIntyre in a half-time position as Anti-Doping Officer. Before that time, the organizers of major events had to deal with Anti-Doping issues demanded by the IOF. Each organizer had to order and pay for the tests. Instead of reinventing the wheel at each event, the IOF can now run the work more efficiently and with a better overview.


Good enough?

So how much work does the IOF put into Anti-Doping?

– Each year, the IOF makes a list of athletes who have to report their whereabouts via the WADA administration system ADAMS. The list is based on performance and at the moment, 13 athletes from FootO, SkiO and MTBO are a part of the list. In addition to that, the IOF does In-Competition testing. It means that you always can be required to do a doping-test when participating in an IOF event, Kirsty McIntyre says.

13 athletes in both FootO, SkiO and MTBO to do whereabouts does not sounds like much. Why are you not testing more people?

– It is all about an efficient use of our resources and the number of athletes we follow is actually very similar with other sports like orienteering. Through cooperation with national anti-doping agencies an additional number of orienteering athletes are also tested in this way, Kirsty McIntyre says.

Could you not just spend some extra money?

– Then we would have to reprioritize. The money to fight doping comes from three sources. The newly introduced Athletes license, organizers of major events and money from the IOC. The IOF has a budget and a certain amount of that is used on Anti-Doping work. If we were to spend more on Anti-Doping, we would have to take the money from somewhere else. Unfortunately, the IOF does not have the ability to make water into wine. We cannot test everyone. No sport does that. Nevertheless, by having an Anti-Doping program such as ours, we aim to keep the athletes away from doping by deterrence, Kirsty McIntyre says.

No one has been tested positive for use of illegal drugs in events under the control of the IOF. There is no justified belief that doping should be an ongoing problem in orienteering. Still, the IOF’s work is very important to protect the athletes against doping, and the organization will continue the work for a clean and fair sport.


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