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The International Testing Agency (ITA), the organization responsible for doping control during the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, is seeking to recruit “samplers” for the two events.
Who says sport, says anti-doping test. The future Olympic and Paralympic Games are no exception. The International Testing Agency (ITA), the organization which will be responsible for doping control, is actively recruiting for 2024 “samplers” and “chaperones”, according to the jargon, in the fight against cheaters.
Since the Tokyo and Beijing Olympic Games, the ITA, based in Lausanne, has been responsible for carrying out the anti-doping program on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The task is great: in three weeks it will be necessary to do about “half of what France usually does in a year”, or nearly 6,000 tests for the Olympic Games alone, is used to explaining the French Agency for fight against doping (AFLD).
Training in April
So it will take a small army of controllers, called “samplers” in the jargon (“DCO, doping control officer” in English), or some 300 people on the competition sites and a little upstream of the Olympics.
In order for the workforce to be complete, the ITA has launched a call on LinkedIn to offer a three-day training course in April 2023 to be held at the headquarters of the Organizing Committee for the Games (Cojo) in Saint-Denis and is thus seeking ” 60 new anti-doping samplers”.
The ITA oversees the anti-doping program for the Paris Olympics in collaboration with the AFLD. The latter has been entrusted with the implementation of the operational program by the Cojo, which is responsible for planning checkpoints and logistics at the competition sites.
For example: where to carry out the control after the final of the 100 meters at the Stade de France and how will transit the samples taken to the new anti-doping laboratory which will be located on the campus of Orsay (Essonne) and which will operate at full speed during the Olympics.
“Doping Samplers work on the front lines of athlete testing at the Olympic Games. As a specifically trained professional, you will be responsible for coordinating the sample collection process for doping testing,” reads the LinkedIn announcement released a few days ago.
Controls throughout France
This training is open “to professionals in nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacy, medicine, laboratories and the police in the cities of the Olympic sites”, adds the announcement.
Because it will also be necessary to check in Marseille, where the sailing events take place, or in Bordeaux, one of the cities of the Olympic football tournament. You have to speak French and also “basic English”, specifies the ITA to AFP.
The AFLD already has a pool of several dozen controllers. The most experienced went to the last Olympic Games in Tokyo (2020) and Beijing (2022). For 2024, controllers from neighboring countries should come to lend a hand and they will be officially recruited by the Cojo, the ITA further explained.
Chaperones even in the toilets
Those who will follow the training in April 2023 will be able to (re) integrate the AFLD after the Paris Olympics and do the tests for other competitions, the ITA further explained.
Another category of people will be necessary, recruited by the Cojo: the “chaperones” who will accompany the athletes everywhere, including to the toilets, to see for example if there is no substitution of bottles.
A few months ago, several anti-doping sources told AFP that the Cojo was “very late” in anti-doping preparations. But since the summer, “there has been a boost”, explains one of these sources to AFP.
Moreover, in December 2022, the State, which returned 70 million euros to the budget of the Cojo, put 8 million euros more towards the anti-doping laboratory. And to comply with world anti-doping standards, France via the Olympic law being debated in Parliament, will allow genetic testing in very specific cases.