UKAD significantly increases its sample reanalysis efforts during 2021/22

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has been putting an increased emphasis on sample reanalysis throughout 2021/22 in a bid to catch those using prohibited substances.

In 2011 the Drug Control Centre (DCC), King’s Forensics at King’s College London partnered with UKAD to provide a retesting service, an increasingly powerful tool to catch cheats, with samples stored and accessible for reanalysis for up to 10 years. The samples are stored for this period to allow for the greatest opportunity for scientific development in detecting banned substances.

UKAD selects samples for reanalysis based on intelligence received, due diligence ahead of large sporting events and as improvements in detection methods are developed.

From April 2021 to March 2022, 260 samples were submitted for reanalysis by UKAD, which is an increase of 77 from the year prior. The increase was largely due to the build up to the Tokyo and Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games. The samples retested during this period came from Rugby League, Cycling, Athletics, Weightlifting, Rowing, Snowsport, Bob Skeleton, Bobsleigh, Para-Powerlifting, Rugby Union, Aquatics, Pro Boxing, Boxing, Biathlon and Ice Skating.

In addition, the Commonwealth Games Anti-Doping Taskforce, which was introduced to ensure there is a robust anti-doping programme in place during the games this summer, selected 66 samples that were collected from athletes during the Gold Coast 2018 games for reanalysis. The Taskforce, which is spearheaded by UKAD and the Commonwealth Games Federation, has targeted the reanalysis at athletes set to compete at Birmingham 2022. The reanalysis of these samples has been conducted by the Australian National Measurement Institute on behalf of the Commonwealth Games Taskforce.

UKAD’s Chief Executive, Jane Rumble, said: “It is our ongoing mission to identify and remove from sport those who cheat. We are constantly developing ways to disrupt the use of performance enhancing drugs and methods. The use of sample reanalysis is a powerful tool that helps us to do this.

“There are gradual developments in how we can detect banned substances. Being able to keep hold of samples for up to 10 years enables us to detect cheats retrospectively and remove them from sport. It’s important we retest samples, especially in the lead up to major sporting events. We hope to continue to build on the number of samples that we reanalyse in the coming years.”