Gene testing may be used at Tokyo Olympics

By David Owen

November 6 – Gene testing may be utilised as part of the battle against drug cheats at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, according to International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

The German told delegates at the fifth world conference on doping in sport, taking place this week in Poland, that new methods such as gene testing and the so-called dried blood spot method (DBS) would “again strengthen deterrence”.

Speaking in Katowice, where a new world anti-doping code programmed to enter into force in 2021 is expected to be approved tomorrow (Nov 7) by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s foundation board, Bach said: “With research on genetic sequencing progressing well, this new approach [gene testing] could be a ground-breaking method to detect blood doping, weeks or even months after it took place.”.

He went on: “If approved by WADA, such new gene testing could be used already at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

“These new methods will again strengthen deterrence. We want the cheats to never feel safe, anytime or anywhere.”

The IOC President also underlined that the body had increased its financial support to WADA. “Together with the governments, we have approved a 47% cumulative budget increase from about $30 million in 2017 to about $44 million in 2022,” he said. He claimed the overall contribution of sport to the fight against doping was estimated at $260 million every four years.

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