The UK Anti-Doping Agency will begin winding down testing procedures as the country is gripped in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
With the vast majority of sporting events cancelled for the next two months, UKAD made a tough decision to ‘significantly reduce’ surprise visits to athletes.
Boxing promoters remain unsure about when the sporting calendar will officially kick back in. At the moment, May is initially the target.
Fights like Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin and Oleksandr Usyk vs Derek Chisora now face a minimal to zero UKAD presence. That’s if they still go ahead on their respective May dates.
Due to only six and a half and nine and a half weeks remaining until Whyte vs Povetkin (May 2) and Usyk vs Chisora (May 23), the lack of UKAD activity could be an indication that the fights may not happen on those dates.
It’s not certain yet, as Matchroom Boxing and other British promoters find their current plans on hold.
Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead outlined the UKAD decision, saying: “We are acutely aware of the effect that the COVID-19 virus is having on society, sport and the wider sporting community. Both here in the UK and globally.
“With the cancellation of sporting events and recent UK Government advice concerning the control of the virus, we have reviewed our operational activity. UKAD is announcing a significant reduction in our testing programme.
“This is a difficult decision. One that has not been taken lightly. Our priority is the health and welfare of athletes. Plus, our own staff and doping control officers (DCO).
“As an organization, our ongoing responsibility remains to protect clean sport. But we must give precedence to health and welfare. To act responsibly in line with government advice during this unprecedented time.
“We will certainly continue to process intelligence. We will act on that information.
“If anyone has information that could be of interest to UKAD and its investigations on any matter, please do contact us as usual.”
Athletes who are required to submit whereabouts must continue to do so. We encourage them to record on ADAMS if they are self-isolating.
UKAD’s athlete (and support personnel) education programme will continue. This will be conducted through online webinar sessions.
If British athletes are overseas and testing is taking place in that country, our advice is that athletes continue with the doping control process. Record any concerns on the doping control form.
If an athlete has any concerns over the testing programme, then please contact UKAD as they would normally do so.
Where testing will take place, maximum precautions will be implemented to protect the athlete and the Doping Control Officer, including:
DCO wearing personal protective equipment (where available).
Maintaining a 6ft distance between the athlete and the DCO.
DCO selection will be in line with government advice and consider recent travel history and high-risk criteria (such as age or underlying health conditions).
Furthermore, UKAD retains the right to undertake testing at any time.