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Opinion

These anti-doping efforts are not to be taken seriously

The World Anti-Doping Agency has found a host of problems with the doping tests organized by the IOC at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The whole thing is a farce, writes DW's Olivia Gerstenberger.

What would you do to win Olympic gold? The German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) and the German Interior Ministry are currently implementing a package of reforms to high-performance sports in the country in an effort to help German athletes win more medals.

It's one example of the years of meticulous work athletes, coaches and team doctors from around the world put into trying to realize the goal of winning a gold medal. Most use entirely legal methods but some will cross the line as they bid to realize the dream - no matter how short-lived it may be.

Medals won through illegal means don't usually stay with the athletes for long these days. Ongoing improvements in testing methods now help bring to light increasingly audacious methods of doping - sooner or later.

But still the International Olympic Committee (IOC) revels in boasting about "positive" retests and even today, a day after the publication of a report by independent observers revealed the shambolic state of the drug-testing program at the Summer Games in Rio, they asserted that "it was a successful Olympic Games with a successful anti-doping programme."

Gerstenberger Olivia Kommentarbild App

DW's Olivia Gerstenberger

'Worst' testing in Olympic history

Really? How can one speak of a success when there were such hair-raising problems with the testing program? The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report states, among other things, that many athletes simply could not be located, so only half, or even fewer, of the planned tests were carried out. This amounted to an open invitation for unscrupulous, experienced athletes intent on abusing the system, to manipulate the tests.

Weeks ago Hajo Seppelt, German public broadcaster ARD's doping expert, pointed out in an interview with public radio station Deutschlandfunk that in some cases, the name and gender of samples got mixed up because in Rio, international standards for procedures - such as how they are sealed - had not been followed. Independent observers called the tests in Rio the "worst" testing in Olympic history.

Clean athletes can only shake their heads in disbelief. Yet again, the ideals of fair competition, fair testing and a real anti-doping campaign have been reduced to a farce. We haven't even got over the scandal surrounding nationwide state-sponsored doping in Russia.

In this case, the IOC and WADA have been blaming each other for months. In view of the entirely amateurish testing conducted in Rio, for which the IOC was responsible, neither should be surprised when they are accused of failure. All this is anything but credible work and policy in the battle against doping.

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