— Published 7 May 2021

Testing is on the rise again


That’s reassuring. Less than three months before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics, the fight against doping is back on track. The World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) reveals that the number of samples collected by anti-doping organizations around the world is quickly returning to a normal level despite the COVID-19 pandemic. During March 2021, 22,649 samples were retrieved by 145 anti-doping organizations, the highest number recorded since the pandemic began in March 2020. Testing had declined dramatically in the early months of the pandemic, particularly from March to June 2020, but then began to increase again. The level of out-of-competition samples collected in the first three months of 2021 is thus higher than for the same period in 2019. According to WADA, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns around the world is also contributing to the increase of samples collected before the Tokyo Games. Not surprisingly, the limited number of sporting events held in 2020 has had a significant impact on the number of samples collected during competitions. This trend is being confirmed in 2021. But “out-of-competition testing has now resumed forcefully, notes WADA President Witold Bańka. To prove this point, 2,000 more tests were conducted in March 2021 compared to the same month in 2019.”