Doping testing is an activity that is strictly specified in the International Standard for Testing and Investigations. Urine, blood or both are collected as test samples. Doping testing takes place both at competitions and outside of them.
Doping test types
There are two types of doping tests: in-competition tests and out-of-competition tests. An athlete can be summoned to testing at any time and anywhere, either in their home country or abroad. The athlete is invited in person.
In-competition tests refer to doping tests performed in connection with a competition event. Unless otherwise specified in the rules of the international or another relevant antidoping organisation, this refers to a period starting 12 hours prior to the competition and ending at the end of the competition and the related collection of samples.
All known doping substances and methods and any manipulation of the sample are tested from samples collected in connection with competitions.
The athletes are drawn or ordered to undergo testing based on ranking, for example, or chosen for it as specified in the competition rules of the sport. The athletes can also be ordered to take the test by name in the in-competition tests.
In some sports, a record result (Finnish record, European record, world record) cannot be officially approved until the athlete in question has produced a negative sample. After breaking a record, the athlete must attend the doping control in a manner provided by the rules of the sport. The athlete can acquire further information from his or her sports federation.
Targeted doping tests are also carried out outside of competitions. Out-of-competition samples are tested for non-approved substances, anabolic agents, peptide hormones, growth factors and similar substances, ß2-agonists, hormone and metabolism modulators, diuretics and other masking agents as well as all prohibited methods.
International sports federations may have rules of their own regarding the substances to be tested. It is the athletes responsibility to be aware of the relevant rules.
Athletes are chosen for out-of-competition tests in a targeted manner or by drawing the athletes to be tested during the training of a certain group or athletes on a camp. In targeted tests, FINCIS or another antidoping organisation that has ordered the test has named the athlete in advance for the test.
Targeted tests are mainly carried out for testing pool and national team athletes. FINCIS can, however, target any athlete bound by the antidoping code for testing, both in-competition and out-of-competition.
Out-of-competition tests also include follow-up tests made to clarify the results of previous tests and tests carried out during a period of ineligibility due to antidoping rule violations.
Doping tests consist of taking a urine sample or a blood sample or both. A blood sample does not replace a urine test, because it concerns primarily different substances and different methods.
Doping control is most often carried out based on urine tests. The urine sample is used in analysing the use of prohibited substances and methods.
Blood samples may be taken for identifying prohibited substances and methods, for screening or as a part of long-term monitoring in order to create an athlete's personal profile.
Blood samples are collected according to the instructions of the International Standard for Testing and Investigations. They are taken by a person who, in addition to training and authorisation provided by FINCIS, has vocational training in health care and is qualified to take blood samples. Blood tests are carried out, for example, in order to detect growth hormone and the use of various artificial substances and methods related to the manipulation of blood.
Athlete Biological Passport
FINCIS also utilises personal profiles created for athletes as well as any information that can be obtained from these profiles. Certain biological variables of an athlete will be monitored regularly throughout his/her athletic career. Changes in the athlete's profile may reveal the use of doping.
An athlete's individual profile, i.e. the so-called Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) system, is about monitoring selected biological variables (such as haemoglobin and haematocrit in the haematological profile and testosterone and epi-testosterone in the steroid profile) over an extended period of time. The results are used to create a profile which serves as an athlete's personal reference value range instead of population-based reference values used earlier.
The Athlete Biological Passport system can be used as a tool for targeting and scheduling testing. It can also be used for indirectly showing any use of doping agents or methods and therefore an antidoping rule violation.