CONTROLS IN PRACTICE
Doping controls are the main analytical tool at our disposal for investigating anti-doping rule violations but they are also important in terms of prevention. Both aspects are important for the distribution and implementation of doping controls. Doping controls are organised where and when the likelihood of preventing and/or identifying an anti-doping rule violation is greatest. That involves risk profiling for Dutch sports and ‘target controls’. Conducting doping controls contributes to fair(er) competition on the one hand, and to protecting athletes’ health on the other.
Dutch elite sports are the main field where doping control officials work but, given the desired preventive effect, their deployment (albeit limited) for other target groups is also possible.
Important elements in the enforcement of the anti-doping rules are the National Control Programme and Doping Authority Netherlands’ Registered Testing Pool (RTP).
Registered Testing Pool (RTP)
On the basis of the amended World Anti-Doping Code and the associated International Standards, Doping Authority Netherlands has established a Registered Testing Pool (RTP). Athletes in this RTP are required to comply with a number of obligations. For example, before using medication on the prohibited list, they must apply for a therapeutic use exemption from the TUE committee. They must also supply their whereabouts information.
There were eight sports associations with athletes in the RTP in 2022, the same number as in 2021. The number of athletes in the RTP was lower than in 2021: 215 athletes at the beginning of 2022 as opposed to 269 athletes at the beginning of 2021. Once again in 2022, athletes were only required to provide whereabouts information to one organisation: either Doping Authority Netherlands or the international federation. Doping Authority Netherlands uses the whereabouts module of the global Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS) and the associated app developed by WADA (Athlete Central).
Controls conducted - general
Doping Authority Netherlands conducted two types of doping control for Dutch sports in 2022: controls in the context of the Dutch National Control Programme, and doping controls on behalf and for the account of third parties, including Dutch and international federations, event organisers, foreign National Anti-Doping Organisations and professional sports organisations. The responsibilities of Doping Authority Netherlands also included controls pursuant to official records, target controls when there were specific suspicions, and various types of follow-up investigations. Controls in the Netherlands included not only Dutch athletes, but also athletes from other countries who were present in the Netherlands. They were sometimes conducted on behalf of other Anti-Doping Organisations.
The National Control Programme – underlying principles
The annual plan for 2022 included a National Control Programme of some 3,000 doping controls. A percentage of the available controls were earmarked for target controls, follow-up investigations, and for doping controls pursuant to records and meeting qualification standards. On the basis of the formulated policy, Doping Authority Netherlands divided most of the available controls beforehand between the sports associations. The distribution of the available doping controls between the Dutch sports associations (the ‘Test Distribution Plan’) is based on a extensive risk analysis. This risk analysis includes parameters such as: sport-specific physiological characteristics, relevant doping substances, medal chances and incentives, national sport context, doping history, anti-doping trends and scientific research, available intelligence, the outcomes of previous testing plans, and the seasonal and career progression of the athlete. This risk analysis is repeated at regular intervals. On the basis of the outcome, sports are allocated to risk classes that are used to assign the number and type of doping control (urine, blood and/or athlete passport).
The National Control Programme – implementation
In 2022, a total of 3,017 doping controls were conducted as part of the National Control Programme (the National Control Programme implemented in 2021 consisted of 2,397 doping controls). The overwhelming majority (2,236) were urine controls. There were also 781 blood controls in 2022, for example in the context of the Athlete Biological Passport, an increase of 51% over 2021.
Doping controls in the National Control Programme: the top five
- Speed skating
The percentage of out-of-competition controls (blood and urine) in the National Control Programme was 66%. That is lower than in 2021 (79%). This fall can largely be explained by the fact that many events and competitions resumed a regular (pre-COVID) schedule in 2022. Of the 3,017 doping controls (blood and urine) conducted for sports in the Netherlands, 1,560 involved men (52%) and 1,457 women (48%).
Doping controls for third parties
Various sports organisations purchased additional controls from Doping Authority Netherlands for national and international events in the Netherlands.
A total of 168 doping controls were conducted on the basis of assignments from third parties, 57% fewer than in 2021, when a total of 352 controls were conducted in this way. This fall is partly attributable to the fact that the primary focus in 2022 was on the completion of the National Control Programme. In addition, effective the 2022-2023 season, the additional doping control programme of the KNVB has been included as a standard component of the National Control Programme of Doping Authority Netherlands, dispensing with the need for additional doping controls funded by the KNVB.
The majority of the additional doping controls conducted for Dutch and foreign associations and organisers were in-competition controls (79%). Of the doping controls for third parties, 65% involved men and 35% involved women.
Doping controls - total
The controls for the National Control Programme and the controls for third parties together make up the entire doping control programme conducted in 2022. A total of 3,185 doping controls were conducted in 2022. The total number of 3,185 doping controls for Dutch sports and sports organisations was considerably higher than in 2021, when there were 2,749 doping controls, 2,397 under the auspices of the National Control Programme.
|Doping controls conducted by Doping Authority Netherlands||Urine||Blood||Total|
|Doping controls conducted for Dutch sport (National Control Programme)||2,236||781||3,017|
|Doping controls conducted for foreign sports organisations and other organisations||143||25||168|
|Total conducted by Doping Authority Netherlands||2,379||806||3,185|
Total number of doping controls: the top five by sport
- Speed skating
The tables below (2.2 and 2.3) show the number of doping controls conducted by Doping Authority Netherlands by sport.
|Sport||National Control Programme||For third parties||Total conducted|
|Mixed Martial Arts||3||3||0||3||3|
|Tug of war||7||7||0||7||7|
|Sport||Out of competition||In competition|
|Mixed Martial Arts||3||3|
|Tug of war||7||7|
Doping controls that did not take place
In 2022, 265 scheduled doping controls did not take place, for example because:
- there was a whereabouts failure (‘missed test’);
- there was not enough capacity (i.e. DCOs) to implement the assignment within the specified time frame;
- athletes/teams were absent from events and competitions and central training sessions which they were expected to attend;
- the doping control official (DCO) went to a training session or competition, and it then emerged that the training session or competition had been cancelled or moved;
- a doping control official went to a stated address and the athlete proved to be absent during the control window or was not/no longer resident at the address (in the case of doping controls for which the athlete in question was not required to supply whereabouts information).
These were both in-competition and out-of-competition doping controls. When doping controls were not conducted, efforts were made to find an appropriate moment as quickly as possible thereafter to conduct the control in question after all, where appropriate by scheduling controls at an event of a comparable size, if such an event was available.
A total of 58 final whereabouts failures noted in 2022 were registered by Doping Authority Netherlands. In addition, two whereabouts failures were pending as the annual report was being drafted. Whereabouts failures can be either missed tests (when the athlete is not present at the stated location in the 60-minute time slot) or filing failures (the failure to comply with the obligation to supply adequate whereabouts information correctly and in good time).
The number of whereabouts failures in 2022 was 25% lower than in 2021 (when there were 80 failures).
Second whereabouts failures were registered for nine athletes in 2022. A first whereabouts failure was registered in 2021 for four of those athletes. A third whereabouts failure was registered during a twelve-month period in the case of three athletes (two of those failures were still being processed as this annual report was being drafted).
The top three of whereabouts failures in 2022 consisted of members of the Royal Netherlands Skating Association (KNSB), the Athletics Union and the Royal Netherlands Rowing Association (KNRB). It should be pointed out that associations with a large number of athletes in the Registered Testing Pool are also more likely to have athletes who fail to meet whereabouts obligations. In 2022, the Judo Association Netherlands was the association with most whereabouts failures.
On the basis of a risk analysis, the relevant standards of the World Anti-Doping Code for sports and sports disciplines include a specific calculation for the minimum percentages required for additional laboratory analyses. WADA’s Technical Document for Sport Specific Analysis (TDSSA) includes binding provisions that apply to National Anti-Doping Organisations, including Doping Authority Netherlands. The analyses relate to, among other things, erythropoietin-like substances and growth hormones. The minimum number of specific additional analyses is expressed as a percentage of the number of doping controls conducted in a sport (a percentage of additional analyses in addition to the standard analysis package).
In 2022, the analyses of 23% of the 3,017 doping controls in the National Control Programme involved testing urine and/or blood samples for Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). This percentage was lower than in 2021 (43%). The ESA analyses were conducted in addition to the standard laboratory analysis package in a range of relevant sports, with cycling, rowing and athletics at the top of the list (in absolute numbers).
The urine and/or blood samples collected in 24% of 3,017 controls for the National Control Programme were also analysed for the presence of human growth hormone and/or Growth Hormone Releasing Factors (GHRFs). This percentage was lower than in 2021 (36%). The analyses covered a range of sports, with rowing, speed skating and cycling at the top of the list (in absolute numbers).
In addition (as in 2021), various samples were also analysed for testosterone.
In 2022, virtually all the blood and urine samples were stored to allow for the possibility of repeat analyses at some time in the future.
Doping Authority Netherlands has complied with the applicable WADA TDSSA obligations for 2022.
Unannounced doping controls
The total percentage of out-of-competition controls was 63%, which is less than in 2021 (74%). Almost all doping controls were conducted without the athlete receiving prior warning (‘no advance notice testing’). The only exceptions were doping controls triggered by a record or limit; in these cases, the initiative for the control resides with the athlete or the athlete’s association.
Athlete Biological Passport
In the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) programme, several blood samples are taken over time from selected athletes from a range of sports for the purposes of establishing longitudinal profiles. A total of 352 blood samples, of which 333 were for the National Control Programme of Doping Authority Netherlands, were collected for the purposes of the Athlete Biological Passport. The number of ABP controls for the National Control Programme rose approximately 16% by comparison with 2021, when 286 samples were taken. The 352 ABP blood controls were conducted in the following sports: athletics, para-athletics, rowing, speed skating and cycling.
Adverse analytical findings
In 2022, 27 adverse analytical findings were registered with Doping Authority Netherlands. That number of results represented 0.8% of the 3,185 controls. The percentage of adverse results was slightly higher than in 2021 (0.5%).
|Year||Percentage of adverse results|
In sixteen cases, a therapeutic use exemption had been granted for the therapeutic use of the prohibited substance(s) found. See Table 2.4. These files were therefore closed. Eleven files were identified as a possible anti-doping rule violation in 2022. See Table 2.5.
|Sport||Adverse analytical finding||Amount|
|Athletics||Modafinil and its metabolite Modafinilic acid|
|Cycling||Growth hormone (hGH)||3|
|Cycling||Methylphenidate and its metabolite Ritalinic acid|
|Cycling||Oxycodone and its metabolite Oxymorphone|
|Golf||Ritalinic acid (metabolite of methylphenidate)|
|Gymnastics||Methylphenidate and its metabolite Ritalinic acid|
|Ice hockey||Methylphenidate and its metabolite Ritalinic acid|
|Judo||Methylphenidate and its metabolite Ritalinic acid|
|Judo||Methylphenidate and its metabolite Ritalinic acid|
|Speed skating||Methylphenidate and its metabolite Ritalinic acid|
|Swimming||Methylphenidate and its metabolite Ritalinic acid|
|Sport||Adverse analytical result|
|Athletics||GHRP-2 (1-3) (metabolites of GHRP-2 (pralmorelin))|
|Billiard sports||1α-Methyl-5α-androstan-3α-ol-17-one, 1a-Methyl-5a-androstan-3a, 17b-diol, 1a-Methyl-5a-androstan-3a-ol-17-one-sulphate (metabolites of mesterolone)|
|Combat sports||2a-methyl-5a-androstan-3a-ol-17-one (metabolite of drostanolone)|
|Combat sports||2a-methyl-5a-androstan-3a-ol-17-one (metabolite of drostanolone), 19-Norandrosterone and 19-Noretiocholanolone|
|Combat sports||Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Carboxy-THC)|
|Combat sports||Clenbuterol, Ligandrol (LGD-4033), GW501516, Methylhexanamine (4-methylhexan-2-amine)|
|Combat sports||Drostanolone and the metabolite 2a-methyl-5a-androstan-3a-ol-17-one|
|Combat sports||Testosterone (of exogenous origin), androsterone (of exogenous origin), 5a-androstane-3a,17b-diol (of exogenous origin) and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol (of exogenous origin)|
|Equestrian sports||Cocaine and its metabolite Benzoylecgonine|
|Hockey||Cocaine and its metabolite Benzoylecgonine|
Substance classification according to the WADA Prohibited List
During the course of substance classification at the group level in accordance with the 2022 WADA Prohibited List, a prohibited substance (or metabolite of such a substance) was found a total of 49 times in the 27 adverse analytical findings referred to above. Two urine samples contained four prohibited substances or their metabolites. Two urine samples contained three prohibited substances or their metabolites. Twelve urine samples contained two prohibited substances or their metabolites. All the other urine samples contained one prohibited substance or a metabolite. The stimulant category scored highest with 24 cases out of the 49 in 2022. See Table 2.6.
|Hormone and metabolic modulators||1|
|Peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances and mimetics||4|