ITA chair Valérie Fourneyron said she was "confident" of a "robust anti-doping programme" at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

International Testing Agency (ITA) chair Valérie Fourneyron is "confident" of a "robust anti-doping programme" at this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The ITA claims it is leading the most extensive pre-Games anti-doping programme ever implemented. 

In collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), International Federations (IFs) and National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs), the ITA is working to address and remediate any testing gaps before Tokyo 2020 takes place. 

The ITA also leads the Tokyo 2020 pre-Games expert pool, comprising specialists from IFs and NADOs representing all five continents. 

The group is responsible for reviewing available information on athletes who are likely to compete in the Games. 

It performs a risk assessment and shares testing recommendations with other anti-doping organisations to ensure that effective testing is conducted globally through a coordinated effort.

The group issued 26,000 testing recommendations in December after updating the pre-Games risk assessment due to the postponement of Tokyo 2020. 

In comparison, the pre-Games anti-doping programme for Rio 2016 had started one month before the Games and comprised 1,500 recommendations for seven at-risk disciplines. 

These recommendations have already triggered additional doping controls, resulting in more than 9,000 tests scheduled for the coming weeks, said the ITA.

Samples collected during the London 2012 Olympic Games have since been reanalysed by the ITA and resulted in doping violations ©Getty Images
Samples collected during the London 2012 Olympic Games have since been reanalysed by the ITA and resulted in doping violations ©Getty Images

In addition to the pre-Games doping control programme, the ITA has developed and implemented a global long-term storage programme, supported by a dedicated IOC-fund.

As a result, all samples collected from athletes going to Tokyo 2020 will be stored for up to 10 years.

Samples collected during the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games have been subject to reanalysis and have so far produced more than 130 anti-doping rule violations.

Long-term storage will be available for the samples collected during the pre-Games period, with a facility already operational to serve that purpose. 

"While COVID-19 continues to impact testing efforts in several areas of the world, I am confident that with everyone’s support, the ITA will be able to deliver a robust anti-doping program for Tokyo," said Fourneyron.

"During 2020, we have seen that despite the difficult and unpredictable global situation, most out-of-competition doping controls and other anti-doping activities have been largely maintained, which gives us confidence and hope that the impact of the pandemic on the pre-Games activities will be limited. 

"It is the first time in the history of the Olympic Games that clean sport activities will be fully managed by an independent organisation, and I can guarantee that the ITA team will do everything in its power to deliver in Tokyo the highest possible quality program for all participating athletes and countries." 

Following postponement due to the global health crisis, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are now scheduled for July 23 to August 8.