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IOC claims Rio anti-doping program was successful despite shortcomings

The IOC has said its anti-doping program at the Rio Olympics was a success despite a number of problems. The assertion came in response to a WADA report that pointed to "serious failings" in drug testing in Rio.

A statement issued by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday conceded that its anti-doping program at the Rio Olympics faced a number of challenges such as "a lack of resources and trained volunteers/staff," but that "this was managed successfully thanks to the dedication and expertise of Rio 2016 and international staff and volunteers."

The statement came a day after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released a report in which it said the people carrying out drug testing lacked training and testing equipment, and that the program also suffered from inadequate planning.

The report did acknowledge that some of the failings in Brazil were beyond the control of the IOC and accepted that budget cutbacks had made circumstances difficult. But it also said that anti-doping personnel - especially chaperones who escort athletes to testing - needed to be better trained.

"Untrained and inexperienced chaperones should not be working at the Games," said the report, which was compiled by team of independent observers and presented at WADA's Montreal headquarters on Thursday.

"It undermines respect and trust among athletes in the anti-doping program, and provides opportunities for experienced and unscrupulous athletes who would want to abuse the system to manipulate the doping control process."

In one of its few words of praise, though, WADA commended the standards of the sample-testing lab in Rio.

The report showed that significantly fewer tests were carried out than had been planned, with only 4,882 recorded rather than the intended 5,380. At the same time,  only around 10 per cent of the  planned biological passport blood tests were carried out.   

The IOC's medical and scientific director, Dr. Richard Budgett, said the report's recommendations would be sent to a new independent testing authority which is to be created before the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

mp/pfd (Reuters, DPA, AP)

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