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Testing & Investigations

Introduction to Doping Control

The aim of testing is to detect and deter doping amongst athletes and to protect clean athletes. Any athlete under the testing jurisdiction of IMMAF may be tested at any time, with no advance notice, in- or out-of-competition, and be required to provide a urine or a blood sample.

Athletes can be tested by IMMAF, NADOs or Major Event Organisers. Certain International Federations and Major Event Organisers delegate part or all of their anti-doping programs to independent organisations like the International Testing Agency (ITA). For more information on IMMAF’s collaboration with the ITA, please visit

What to expect during the Doping Control Process 

The doping control process is clearly defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency. This means that no matter where and when an athlete is tested, the process should remain the same.

The key steps of the doping control process are listed out in this Doping Control resource prepared by the International Testing Agency (also available in Arabic (عربى), Chinese (中文), French (français), German (deutsche), Italian (italiano), Japanese (日本語), Korean (한국어), Portuguese (português), Russian (русский) and Spanish (español).

To learn more about the doping control process, please watch this ITA webinar on urine and blood sample collection.

Rights & Responsibilities during Sample Collection

Athletes have a number of rights and responsibilities during sample collection. 

Athlete rights during sample collection are to:

  • Have a representative accompany them during the process
  • Request an interpreter, if one is available
  • Ask for Chaperone’s/Doping Control Officer’s identification
  • Ask any questions
  • Request a delay for a valid reason (e.g., attending a victory ceremony, receiving necessary medical attention, warming down or finishing a training session)
  • Request special assistance or modifications to the process
  • Record any comments or concerns on the Doping Control Form

Athlete responsibilities during sample collection are to:

  • Report for testing immediately if selected
  • Show valid identification (usually a government-issued ID)
  • Remain in direct sight of the Doping Control Officer or Chaperone
  • Comply with the collection procedure

Athlete Biological Passport (ABP)

The Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) was introduced in 2009 and is a pillar method in the detection of doping. It is an individual electronic profile that monitors selected athlete biological variables that indirectly reveal the effects of doping. ABP is integrated directly into ADAMS. 

If you wish to learn more about ABP, you can watch this ITA webinar recording.

Registered Testing Pool (RTP) 

The Registered Testing Pool (RTP) is the pool of highest-priority athletes established separately at the international level by the IMMAF and at the national level by National Anti-Doping Organisations. 

Athletes included in the IMMAF RTP are subject to both in-competition and out-of-competition testing as part of IMMAF’s test distribution plan and are therefore required to provide Whereabouts information as provided in Code Art. 5.5 (Athletes Whereabouts Information) and the International Standard for Testing and Investigations.

The IMMAF updates the composition of the RTP on a regular basis. Athletes are included in the RTP based on a set of criteria and are notified by the International Testing Agency/IMMAF upon inclusion. 

Inclusion in the RTP is done via the IMMAF Inclusion Letter – this document contains all the key information, deadlines and athlete’s responsibilities as it relates to athletes’ RTP obligations.

Whereabouts Requirements

RTP Athletes must regularly provide whereabouts and contact information in ADAMS, WADA’s online anti-doping administration and management system. This information helps Anti-Doping Organisations with testing jurisdiction over the athlete to plan out-of-competition testing. 

The Whereabouts requirements include but are not limited to:

  • An up-to-date mailing address and phone number
  • One daily specific 60-minute time slot between 5am and 11pm when the athlete is available and accessible for testing
  • Athlete’s overnight accommodation for each day
  • Information about training and regular activities that are part of the athlete’s regular routine (training at the gym, regular physio sessions, school, work, etc.)
  • Competition, training and travel schedule
  • Any additional relevant information that helps the Doping Control Officer locate the athlete (e.g., buzzer number or directions to a remote location)

Submitting late, inaccurate or incomplete whereabouts information may result in a Filing Failure.

An athlete may receive a Missed Test if they are not available for testing during the 60-minute timeslot indicated in ADAMS. Three Whereabouts Failures (any combination of a Filing Failure and a Missed Test) occurring within a 12-month period will lead to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation and a potential two-year ban from sport. 

It is important to note that under the Principle of Strict Liability, the athlete remains responsible for the information submitted, even if they have delegated this task to a member of their support team.  

Below are some helpful whereabouts tips for athletes:

  • Set a calendar reminder of the key dates/deadlines to submit quarterly Whereabouts information
  • Set an alarm for the start of the 60-minute time slot 
  • Be as specific as possible when submitting your Whereabouts information 
  • When in doubt, ask for help via IMMAF or the ADAMS Help Centre 
  • Make use of the Athlete Central app to submit your Whereabouts information on a mobile device

Retirement and Return to Competition

All international level athletes who decide to retire from competition must inform the ITA. For RTP/TP Athletes, as soon as the retirement is officially confirmed to the ITA, the athlete will be immediately withdrawn from the RTP. The ITA will send a written communication to acknowledge that this information has been received. 

If the athlete then wishes to return to competition, this athlete cannot compete in international or national events until they have given six months prior written notice to the IMMAF (Code Art. 5.6: Retired Athletes Returning to Competition).

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