As the IBU Biathlon World Championships get underway in Pokljuka, Slovenia today, the Biathlon Integrity Unit (BIU) has underlined its ongoing commitment and dedication to protecting athletes’ rights in a clean sport – in this new era for biathlon.
Despite the global pandemic, the BIU has worked hard to ensure that the testing process within biathlon has continued with as little disruption as possible. During 2020, the Unit conducted 1,836 anti-doping tests, which compares with 2,098 conducted the previous year (2019). Due to public health restrictions, the capabilities of the BIU’s sample collection partners, varied from country to country.
However, while the total number of tests was slightly reduced, the BIU took a more strategically targeted approach to ensure there was no reduction in the quality or effectiveness of the anti-doping programme. This approach has been applied to this year (2021). In January 2021 the BIU testing programme comprised 272 tests, which equals 80% of the tests carried out in January 2020 which wasnt affected by the pandemic.
The BIU will continue to improve its testing programme and ensure that clean athletes continue to be protected. Testing is part of a broader, enhanced and progressive anti-doping strategy that relies not solely on in- or out-of-competition testing, but also on investigations and information sharing, whistleblowing, the Athlete Biological Passport, education and other means to protect clean biathletes.
The BIU is embracing a holistic approach to anti-doping that encompasses a variety of different tools – not testing numbers in isolation – which, together, aim to detect, deter and prevent doping, and that work towards one overarching mission: restoring trust and confidence to our sport.
The BIU looks forward to communicating its broader, progressive anti-doping strategy to biathletes and others within the sport and always welcomes direct feedback.