Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Don Catlin Slams ITF

Another great piece by Simon Cambers features an interview with anti-doping expert Don Catlin, who hammers at the ITF's anti-doping program.

Catlin has much to say...

On the biological passport:
"They're better off to increase the number of tests they do rather than spend it all on the passport. Doubling or tripling urine tests would be of more value than starting a passport because you need such a long lead-in. You need data over four or five years...

"...A lot of it looks like grandstanding – whenever there's pressure, sport wakes up and looks to do something but then they realise later that it's not really [changed] anything...

"....if you're only taking two steps when 100 are needed, it's not going to work. If you started with the top 100 male players, that would be a good representation and then if you test them five times a year …but [tennis] probably can't afford to do that or doesn't want to. If you don't start with something of that magnitude, you're not going to get far."
A good read. I think Catlin makes some excellent points, especially given how ITF has said next to nothing about how it will actually implement the biological passport.

49 comments:

  1. Interesting article. On HGH use ... Catlin said you would have to be verging on stupid to test positive for it. "All you have to do is stop for a few hours and you won't get caught," he said.

    Havn't we seen proof of that?

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    1. By the way, if as Caitlin says, a player can be clear of any signs of HGH use in a few hours then what chance would there be of picking up doping from in-competition tests, when the player knows when they will be tested? About zero, I would say.

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    2. The chance of a positive test for hGH is about zero all around. In-comp or OOC. We had an expression that when taking the sample it would make sense to look int he athletes bag as if there was a chance of a positive then the hGH would still be in their possession as they just injected it.

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    3. A fact well-known, presumably, by Odesnik, who, if the revelations emerging from Anthony Bosch in Florida are to be believed, has continued where he left off after being caught red-handed in Australia.

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    4. Apparently one person was stupid enough to get caught. http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/6873450/mike-jacobs-colorado-rockies-tests-positive-hgh-banned-50-games

      The article talks about the very few people who have been caught with HGH, a drug that Travis Tygart labels a "potent performance enhancing drug."

      To show how stupid you have to be, the player who was caught said, "I immediately stopped a couple days later after being tested." Duh.... Should have just skipped the day before testing and then no problem, but maybe his house doesn't have a panic room.

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  2. The 'four parties' referred to by Miller evidently have their heads in the sand. Whether deliberately or not is the moot question.

    Rather than engage with proper experts like Catlin to develop a robust programme, it would appear the four parties are doing their reactive best to maintain a convenient smokescreen over the issues. It's all about 'maintaining the integrity' of the game, never about catching dopers.

    The four parties continue to believe that doping in tennis is something that can be handled as a public relations exercise. The miniscule budget set aside for this is the illuminating confirmation.

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  3. Has Catlin spoken out yet about his partnership with Lance Armstrong?

    Everybody except Richard Ings seems to accept the uselessness of a biopassport.

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    1. Catlin's short-lived association with Armstrong foundered, I think, on the lack of money available to do the testing. Catlin's stance, basically, was either do the job properly - which will cost - or don't bother at all.

      I think he's saying pretty much the same thing now about the ITF's shiny new non-programme.

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    2. I suspect that it was more that Catlin knew early on that Armstrong was still as dirty as sin. Armstrong intended Catlin to be a 'biopassport' the kind of fig-leaf that Ramsas Damsgaard and Anne Gripper have provided for cycling. A tame 'anti-doping' expert whose presence proves that you are clean.

      Damsgaard ran the anti-doping programme at Bjarne Riis's teams and Gripper was in charge of the biopassport during Armstrong's comeback.

      I know Richard Ings thinks highly of Gripper but to my mind she was a total and utter failure in her role at the UCI. They changed the rules to let Armstrong compete in the TDU (he hadn't been in the testing pool for 6 months before racing), there was the issue of the handling of biopassport profiles that took place on her watch. She was basically a fig leaf wheeled out by McQuaid to make it look like cycling was testing when it wasn't.

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    3. I am no fan of the bio-passport. I have said as such many times about the severe limitations of testing and the importance of using non-testing means.

      Having a bio-passport is better than not having one but don't expect many cases to result from it. Some will but not many.

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    4. It's not even that. It's just a PR move. A program for sports who want to pretend they care about catching dopers.

      BTW - with regard to Gripper - she is the only person who can answer the accusations between ashenden and the UCI and yet she is absolutely silent on the matter. I really do wonder which side she is on.

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    5. I do think highly of Anne. She worked for me for a period at ASDA and ASADA and I found her a very determined and innovative anti-doping campaigner with many outside the box ideas.

      What political climate she may have encountered at UCI is anyones guess. But she is a person I hold in high regard for both capability and integrity.

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    6. I wish you would get her to break omerta and talk actually talk about her time at the UCI.

      Her time at the UCI and your view of her do not really square up.

      It is frustrating because she could really shed some light on the inner workings of the UCI.

      Anti-doping is not just catching dopers but it is also about shifting the attitude of the authorities running those sports concerned.

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  4. There seems to be a line of thought they work well if you have tons of tests - for example cyclists getting 35ish ooc tests a year.

    Of course, if you're tennis and do 1 or 2.........

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  5. Oh, meant to say: apparently Fuentes is writing a tell-all book .......

    Perhaps that's why he's refused to name anyone? Could be a tasty pay-day for him.

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    1. Hard to say, Fuentes has wanted to name names for a while. He offered several times during the trial to name his clients - but neither the judge nor the prosecutor wanted him to do that. For some reason there seems to be very little desire in Spain to see Fuentes actually name names.

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    2. A doctor cannot simply disclose information about his patients. Thus, he cannot simply say, "I treated X, Y, Z for EPO, etc."

      On the other hand, if he is compelled by the court to answer the question, then it it legal -- because the court said so. This is why he can only state the names if he is asked in court. Whether the names are or are not relevant to the case, is hard to say, but the judge seems to think they are not.

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  6. All episodes brought me to conclusion that there are cover ups of doping by official. Adopting biopassport and acknowledge the weak system in contrast to what have been said as "clean tennis", at least Stuart Miller or Ricci Bitti should step down. But no one dare to ask them to, perhaps considering that these two men knows too much the reality in ITF and tennis business.

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  7. UFC 158 St-Pierre vs. Diaz pre fight press conference
    was epic: Diaz was calling out STP for using steroids

    will that ever happen in tennis ...sadly no

    as i said before top 5 in UFC are cleaner than top 5 in tennis( 60% heavy doppers)

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  8. Come on.... Nadal: "Adrenaline outweigh all problems"

    http://tenis.as.com/tenis/2013/03/16/portada/1363470422_615979.html

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  9. How the hell does a player come off 8 months of injury, including a recent viral illness, make his very first final back, win the next two tournaments he plays, and then crush the current world no.2 with only the world no.1 between him and a third consecutive tournament victory? (and on his least-favoured surface.) Wait, I think we know the answer. There isn't a top player in tennis history who has shown that kind of comeback off a long period on no play. (Except maybe Serena. Yeah, well.)

    Nadal is clearly really bothered by the prospect of the bio passport. And Catlin (and Richard Ings, to be fair) must surely be right about testing not catching the HGH cheats. I figure we are seeing that right now.

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    1. Well, waddya know. Del Potro beats Djokovic. I guess Nadal will get his third straight victory. Imagine what this player could do if he was healthy.

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    2. To be fair, Federer has been hampered by a back issue since the end of the Dodig match. In fact, he wasn't even trying to get to some balls against Nadal. Probably didn't want to walk out since many players (female) had already walked out during the tournament. He basically just showed up.

      Then again, you are right. Nadal is one weird cat. He is supposedly injured, yet he still runs like a madman... Doesn't make any sense. If he really had bad knees (to the extent he speaks about them, one would figure the guy can't even walk), wouldn't you think his mobility would have been affected by then. Yet, it's unnoticeable.

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    3. The question is what do you do about it? Nadal was tested numerous time OOC. Was HGH even tested for? EPO? Was he serving a "provisional suspension" that was overturned because he "kissed a girl who was using HGH?" Does he have a TUE?

      The complete lack of transparency makes it difficult to trust any athlete, and even more so when the stories coming from their camp keep changing.

      The problem is there is also no transparency in the "biological passport." Although it is supposedly implemented, there are been no discussion about exactly what it is testing for and how it will be implemented. In contrast, WADA provides great details about various "biological passport" programs, so it is not like secrecy is critical to its implementation. http://www.wada-ama.org/en/Science-Medicine/Athlete-Biological-Passport/

      To the extent that tennis is using the WADA passport, then the ITF should simply say this so that people would not think that it is even attempting to test for HGH or any other steroid. See Athlete Biological Passport Operating Guidelines noting the limitation of the term "athlete biological passport" to the hematological profile only.

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    4. It is all so depressing (the lack of transparency). I am also a baseball fan, and at least you have the impression they are going after cheaters full throttle (they really wanted Ryan Braun, but he got off on a technicality - that guy is another piece of work, but that's another story). In tennis, it's as if they don't believe the sport is bigger than its stars. It seems like one big incestuous family where we are fed (pun not intended ;-) half truths and whatnot on a weekly basis. Also, tennis commentators are abysmal, too: Pete Bodo, Wertheim, the people at ESPN, etc. etc. (Steve Tignor is good though, but he seems afraid too dig too deep - I understand that he wants to keep his job, and therein could be the problem: journalists afraid to see too much in fear of reprisals). Anyhow, why doesn't anyone say it out loud: why is Nadal never hampered in his movement if he is so hampered by knee problems?

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    5. Actually I think there is a lot of transparency in the sport: it is transparent that tennis has a doping problem, transparent that Nadal is the biggest doper the sport has seen, and transparent the ITF wants to do little about cleaning up the sport. It's also transparent the journalists don't want to dig to find uncomfortable truths, and transparent that most fans don't want to hear about it. Yep, transparency abounds.

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    6. @richard, all. Likely commenters have written the following before somewhere on this blog, but I'll repeat nevertheless...

      IMO, it's not a good strategy to lament the lack of nerve among tennis journalists and sports journalists generally. That lack clearly stems from real, founded fears of reprisal (i.e., strained relationships among co-workers and ATP liaisons in the newsroom, limited access to players, perhaps even rejected credential applications for future events.) It's unreasonable to expect some family guy making 45k a year to start digging, asking tough questions, risk losing his job.

      Instead, why not spend the effort urging investigative journalists to step up to the plate? Most tennis/sports journalists are not investigative journalists; i.j.s have a very different set of skills. Accept that, and work to get outside investigative people involved, e.g., Frontline, ProPublica, NYT, etc.

      (Not to say that there aren't tennis journalists out there with investigative training, but they're exceptional among their peers.)

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  10. When will the old cheater Roger Frauderer(not federer because of his cheating activities) get caught of doping and its related activities. Frauderer infact acts like a mafia member in the atp like a high ranking corrupt official in the government helps in sneaking of drugs into tennis with his high level influential politics. Frauderer also helps in the supply of PED and Hgh into the tennis world and anyone who doesn't cooperate with him gets snaked out like Fuentes and will probably end up in jail. Hope he gets arrested and convicted for his crimes against the game of tennis and its well being.

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    1. Hiya Sid. It's nice the the clinic lets you out on weekends.

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    2. haha I was just thinking that Boreman's finally been released. Either that or his computer privileges have been reinstated.

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    3. Frauderer fans hates the truth, nothing wrong but remember all of his GS wins are Tainted as he won most of his slams by drug intaking, match fixing and intimidation skills. Roddick is one who has suffered the most from this cheater who is worse than some of the brutal men in history. Frauderer uses his network to kill people who doesn't cooperate with him according to the atp officials. He has control over the tennis world and to know about this visit the website Roger Federer is doping.

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    4. If Fed is proven doping, I will stop watching tennis since almost anyone in top 20 looked fitter and more powerful than him, then everyone must be doping. If it is Nadal who is proven doping, I pretty much still watching tennis since he is the fittest, most powerful and quickest man on tour. If really everyone in tennis is doping, pick Nadal for the case.. Not Roger.

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  11. Truth about Frauderer hurts his immoral fans but he is one of the most corrupt tennis players in the world. He has control over his fellow atp players when it comes to match fixing and drugs, Frauderer was convicted of match fixing once but was off by the system since he knows influential men in tennis. Roger Frauderer's drug network expands its wing in south africa where the Hgh and other illicit drugs are manufactured under cheap labor. His crime activites in the game exceeds that of Lance armstrong but unlike Armstrong Frauderer has also threatened to kill people who doesn't cooperate with him according to atp officials(but everything is kept in the dark to save this criminal).

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    1. You're not Sid Vicious, are you, come back to this world?

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    2. Honest Players like Roddick, Blake, Hewitt and Murray has suffered a lot due to this drug intaking cheat from switzerland. He is the perfect example of sociopath who uses intimidation tactics against umpires and atp officials to win his matches. His drug intaking has also caused innumerable sufferings to his fellow players, all of his 17 GS titles were won by drugs like HGH and PED'S that he used before the tournaments.

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    3. The saddest thing, "sid vc", is that, as hard as you try, you're not even funny (except to yourself, of course, and possibly your mama [if even she be privy to your dirty little secret, that is]) - only pathetic, in your sorry efforts to be "creative". Except for Boreman, the one you most remind me of is Eric Cartman, of the South Park fame. Key word: pathetic.
      P.S. Do not forget to change your (psycho- and/or otherwise) underwear after each successfully completed Internet-session.

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    4. "His crime activites in the game exceeds that of Lance armstrong but unlike Armstrong Frauderer has also threatened to kill people who doesn't cooperate with him according to atp officials(but everything is kept in the dark to save this criminal)."

      How would you know this? It isn't a stretch to say Federer doped during his dominance.

      I don't know if Nadal's comeback is an outright indicator that he doped this time because he had considerable luck with the draw. For me, it's more an indication that the whole knee story is hogwash and the resulting implications seem to have a pretty strong connection to doping.

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    5. What I meant to say in the previous comment is that sid vc is spouting nonsense about Federer being some godfather figure in tennis's doping mafia (wouldn't he have had his say given how mcuh Nadal has taken from him). However, it isn't a stretch to say he doped.

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    6. If Federer doped in his prime, why wouldn't he still be doing it when he needs it most?

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    7. Why not Lopi? You know, Armstrong stopped too at the tail end of his career... (LOL! ;-)

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    8. Since he lied about everything, you believe that?

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    9. I was kidding obviously (I realize I phrased it poorly, sorry about that.) I am certain that Armstrong cheated in his comeback, why wouldn't he? (Especially with the "counseling" payments he sent Ferrari's way in those years as well.)

      Regarding Nadal again, everything about his so-called knee injury feels so out of this world bogus, it's become almost comical, really. Has he ever had an arthrospic surgery? If so, I admit I wouldn't doubt him anymore, but I don't he has! How can the press take him at his word? I mean, the guy misses months on end only to comeback as fast and strong as ever... Something doesn't add up.

      Also, for a superstar, his way of defusing expectations (relying on his poor knees most of the time) has to be once in a lifetime. I mean, before him, I had never seen a dominant athlete always selling himself short all the time the way he does. It's as if he his using all these tactics to divert attention from something else. (I know it's not humility as we've all seen bush league tactics time and again.) He HAS to be doping, does he?

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    10. I find it interesting to imagine that we could put him on court in 1986 (and yes, they were using graphite racquets by then.) Lendl, Becker and Wilander - they would think Nadal was from outer space. Like he is. The power, speed and overall athleticism is out of this world. They used to say Borg was freakishly fast. No comparison. Can you imagine what dope would do for Nadal if he is clean? I mean, could he get any faster, stronger, or more tireless - without actually exploding? (He may yet.)

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    11. Interesting take. While looking at hockey highlights from 15-20 years ago, I see the same thing you mention: these days, the players seem so much stronger and faster than then, there has got to be something more than tighter training and nutrition. Even journeymen seem quicker than freakin' Mario Lemieux back then (the greatest player ever not named Gretzky). Same thing that happens in tennis happens in hockey to: journalists say that PEDs outright wouldn't work in hockey as it's a skill sport. Rings a bell?

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  12. Implement biopassport but you can have TUE when you feel "low passion" and "unsure" about your knees,. Get the TUE and overpower everyone, because your friend said that you are normally overpower. I guess idiots are welcomed in ITF?

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  13. Serena, please...let us win... Our aerial pride is at stake

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  14. Serena, please...let us win... Our aerial pride is at stake

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  15. One of the multiple reaaons why i think serena doesn't dope ia that she has someone in the name of gouglou gagla carry her bags around when she is shopping around. Were she doping, she would be able to carry all these bags around by herself. Hopefully, he is not a spy that will cut off her hair, since according to popular knowledge, she plays that well just because of her hair

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