Athletes are being invited to register for a World Anti-Doping Agency webinar tomorrow following publication of the latest question and answer (Q&A) document relating to anti-doping during the coronavirus pandemic.
The webinar, entitled 2021 COVID-19 and Clean Sport Update, will be held from 13-14:00 EST (Eastern time zone) and will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on athletes and the anti-doping system.
The new Q&A document updates the one issued on May 25 last year and addresses the evolving nature of the pandemic, the changing testing environment and the fact that a growing number of Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) have resumed normal testing.
The topics covered include testing during COVID-19, minimising the risk of contracting or transmitting the virus, filing of whereabouts information, validating therapeutic use exemptions, maintaining the integrity of the global anti-doping system and the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on the testing process.
The WADA release adds: "The Q&A will continue to be updated to provide the latest information to athletes on how testing programs may evolve by integrating further health precautions to protect both clean sport and the health of athletes and sample collection personnel alike.
"WADA has also provided extensive guidance to ADOs, to ensure that testing is carried out in a secure manner, while respecting regional public health guidelines.
"Athletes who wish to know more about what specific measures their International Sport Federation or National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) are taking in the face of this unprecedented challenge are encouraged to contact them directly."
Question one on the document - Can I be tested during the COVID-19 pandemic given the restrictions in place, especially as it relates to social distancing and self-isolation? - receives the following answer:
"While respecting health authority regulations on mobility or physical distancing that have been put in place by local authorities, testing may occur anytime and anywhere."
The question of whether an athlete can refuse to be tested if they are self-isolating, in quarantine of do not feel that adequate precautions are being taken by sample collection personnel prompts the following answer:
"In countries where confinement measures are in place, ADOs are being encouraged to test in only the most appropriate situations, and must exercise sound judgement based on a thorough risk assessment of the situation.
"Unless there is a mandatory isolation/quarantine or lockdown enforced by national or local Government authorities, you are advised to comply with testing while following the preventative measures put in place by your ADO, which should be commensurate with the risks at hand.
"If you refuse to be tested or if you do not complete the sample collection process after notification; or, if you are not able (or willing) to provide a sample due to a lack of protective measures, your refusal will follow the normal results management process, which may result in a period of ineligibility of up to four years."
To read the full Q&A document click here.