World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owner and organizer of the Ironman and 70.3 event brands, announced today the launch of a new Anti-Doping Program. "Beginning this month," said WTC in a written statement, "athletes competing in Ironman and 70.3 events are eligible for in and out-of-competition drug testing."
One new feature welcome to anti-doping fans is, finally, an out-of-competition (OOC) pool of Ironman athletes. The pool of American athletes tested out of competition has 'til now been strikingly skewed toward Olympic-distance, ITU-format athletes.
Another new feature, perhaps less welcome to many athletes, is that the OOC pool will consist of both "professional and elite age group athletes who have qualified for either of the World Championships." This means top AGers may have drug testers showing up at their doors. Further, the OOC program requires athletes to register with registered with WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS). This system manages the athletes' whereabouts and racing calendars, in addition to serving as the results clearinghouse for the program.
WTC announced that, "the partner and service provider for all testing and administration will be the Association of National Anti-Doping Organizations – Anti-Doping Service (ANADO-ADS)." ANADO is the organization with which WTC chose to partner, because it is an international organization. Each country's national doping agency (USADA in the U.S.) will perform and manage testing.
Drug testing has been important to WTC ever since its president and CEO, Ben Fertic (pictured), took the helm. Indeed, it was one of several issues leading to WTC's setting up its own quasi-sanctioning Global Triathlon Group in 2005. WTC returned to USAT sanctioning 9 months later, only after triathlon's national governing body agreed to co-fund enhanced USADA drug-testing at all WTC's North American Ironman-distance events.
Fertic has been adamant that drug testing should occur at every one of WTC's Ironman-distance events, but winners of U.S.-based Ironman races in recent years report that they haven't been drug tested. Today's announcement should mean that drug testing will occur with greater frequency, and at 70.3 events as well.