Last year, the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports FINCIS conducted nearly 2,600 doping tests in Finland and abroad, of which 2,439 were FINCIS’ national testing programme tests. This number is in line with the annual target despite the exceptional sports year characterised by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the 2,599 doping tests conducted by FINCIS last year, 2,439 were part of the national testing programme. In addition to these actual doping control samples, FINCIS took, as planned, 343 blood samples for the Athlete Biological Passport system.
The COVID-19 pandemic made the sports year 2020 exceptionally challenging in terms of doping control. FINCIS had to change its testing policies to achieve the annual testing target during the pandemic.
“In order to carry out doping control, we had to change our testing policies while taking into account the authorities’ instructions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA’s instructions. Despite the challenging year, the national testing programme was implemented as planned, and we are satisfied. The continuation of the operations during the pandemic was enabled by testing staff’s training and active provision of information about the testing changes for the athletes and sports stakeholders,” says Katja Huotari, Doping Control Manager at FINCIS.
In addition to the achievement of quantitative goals, FINCIS can be satisfied with the testing situations that succeeded regardless of the policy changes. According to the previously published FINCIS Athlete survey, Finnish athletes trust in the continuation of FINCIS’ operations and testing during the pandemic. The athletes gave positive feedback especially concerning the testing staff’s attitude and professionalism and they felt that the testing situations were safe.
“In testing, we have done our best to ensure the health and safety of the athletes and testing staff. We appreciate the great co-operation with athletes and sports stakeholders during the pandemic. Safe testing situations can only be arranged when co-operation is smooth,” says Doping Control Manager Huotari.
FINCIS Information Manager
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