"WADA is not a testing agency. Testing programs are conducted by International Federations (IFs) and National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), while the IOC and IPC are responsible for testing during the Olympic and Paralympic Games respectively...USADA is very highly respected. They will provide testing for a number of very high-profile international sports events in America. They are compliant to the World Anti-Doping Code, which is the governing document which harmonizes anti-doping testing across the world, so USADA is the body which would be the best one to use, absolutely," stated Terence O'Rorke, Senior Manager Media Relations and Communications of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who talked about the relationship between WADA and other National Anti-Doping Organizations. According to O'Rorke, the United Stated Anti-Doping Agency would be the best organization to handle WADA testing procedures for events held in the United States. Check out what else he had to say!
BT: Terence, thanks for taking the time to answer a couple of questions for me.
TOR: No problem at all.
BT: Recently, there was a request for Olympic-style drug testing for a major professional boxing event that will take place in the United States. The US Anti-Doping Agency is the National Anti-Doping Organization here in the United States, however, there was some concern raised regarding the "neutrality" of USADA. Due to the fact that one fighter is American while the other fighter is from another country, a request was made for WADA, not USADA, to conduct the testing. I was wondering if I could get some information on how WADA would handle such a scenario.
TOR: WADA is the international, independent organization responsible for setting the standards for anti-doping and harmonizing the fight against doping in sport. WADA is funded by the Olympic Movement and governments from around the world, and its activities emanate from the responsibilities given to it by the World Anti-Doping Code. The Code is the core document that provides the framework for anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organizations and among public authorities. WADA is not a testing agency. Testing programs are conducted by International Federations (IFs) and National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), while the IOC and IPC are responsible for testing during the Olympic and Paralympic Games respectively.
BT: So would there be any reason for an athlete to be concerned about the neutrality of any of the organizations responsible for carrying out the testing protocols created by WADA?
TOR: confidentiality is core to the testing process. Worldwide testing is performed according to the rules set forth in the International Standard for Testing, which aims at harmonizing processes and maintaining the integrity of samples, and the International Standard for Laboratories to ensure production of valid test results and evidentiary data and to achieve uniform and harmonized results and reporting from all accredited laboratories.
BT: If the event is taking place in the United States, would the best approach be for the United States Anti-Doping Agency to handle testing procedures?
TOR: I believe that would be the case, yes. I mean, they are the local Anti-Doping Agency and USADA is very highly respected. They will provide testing for a number of very high-profile international sports sports events in America. They are compliant to the World Anti-Doping Code, which is the governing document which harmonizes anti-doping testing across the world, so USADA is the body which would be the best one to use, absolutely.
BT: Would it make any sense for maybe multiple National Anti-Doping Agencies to be involved with testing procedures? Perhaps an agency from each fighter's region, or maybe even an outside agency, like a boxing commission?
TOR: Absolutely not! No, that is the norm. The organization [boxing commission] that I believe this fight is gonna happen under, they are no compliant. They are not signatories of the World Anti-Doping Code, so we have no way of monitoring what they do.
BT: So if both fighters were from a foreign country, if the event was taking place in the United States, would it be best for USADA to handle the testing protocols?
TOR: Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt. What the best thing probably to do, Ben, is to contact USADA directly and they will tell you exactly the same thing and give you exactly the same assurances.
BT: That's actually the first thing I did. I contacted USADA and they told me the exact same information you're telling me. There still seems to be some confusion out there, however, and some people seem to think that WADA can actually handle the protocols, like the collecting of samples or the actual testing.
TOR: We don't do that. What we do is we set out the guidelines for the National Anti-Doping Organizations to follow and across the world, they follow exactly the same guidelines and procedures and the testing process is water-tight as a result of that. What I would suggest is perhaps give USADA a call and speak to the Cheif Executive, Travis Tygart, or you could perhaps speak to a Doping Control Officer who will go through the steps of what's involved. It's a very trustworthy process where there is no bias and there is no difference whether you come from a country in Africa, or a country in America, or Europe, or you're a male or female, or what age, it makes no difference at all. The process is exactly the same.
BT: Terence, I appreciate you taking the time to clear things up for myself and those people who are still confused about the relationship between WADA and the different National Anti-Doping Agencies.
TOR: I understand completely. There is information on our website. If they want to go through the simple steps, we have a video on there which explains quite simply how the testing process happens. It's www.wada-ama.org. It's the home page and it's under Athlete Zone and it explains in a very simple cartoon-like animation how the process happens. It's for athletes to put their minds at rest.