Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tough enough? (Update)

WADA has released its anti-doping statistical report for 2012. It is the most detailed look at anti-doping programs released to date. What is interesting about the WADA document is that it publishes testing figures that the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has steadfastly refused to disclose for years (e.g., HGH and EPO tests).

Here's a summary of the ITF statistics for 2012:

Atypical Findings: 2 (both from urine samples)

Adverse Findings: 8 (all from urine samples)

Table F12: GC/C/IRMS (Synthetic Testosterone): 92 total; 84 in-competition (IC); 8 out-of-competition (OOC)

Table F13: EPO: 200 total; 162 IC; 38 OOC

Table F14: HGH: 124 total; 99 IC; 25 OOC

Homologous Blood Transfusion: 0

Haemaglobin Based Oxygen Carriers: 0

Table J7: Athlete Biological Passport (ABP): 39 total; 13 IC; 26 OOC

A couple of comments. These statistics show that the ITF's OOC testing program continues to be extremely weak with its minimal GC/C/IRMS, EPO, and HGH testing. It's little wonder why their OOC program doesn't catch anyone.

Also, it is interesting that the statistics indicate that the ITF is already collecting ABP samples.

Table G31 in the WADA report provides additional insight by setting out all tennis testing conducted in 2012 by anti-doping organization.

Update: In typical Miller-esque fashion, the ITF's Stuart Miller has revealed today that the ITF's bio-passport program is live. Miller states that ""in effect we are up and running" and that "It's been implemented, it's up and running, and samples can be collected."

27 comments:

  1. This simply provides the details that prove that the ITF has been asleep at the wheel for years. Previously, various reports had indicated that EPO and testosterone were not being tested for in each test, but to find out that they are tested for less than 1/10 of the time shows that the entire system is worthless.

    In addition, statements by athletes that they "tested clean" are meaningless. For instance, Troicki claims that his late submitted blood sample was "clean," but "clean" for what? Was EPO tested for? Probably not. Was he tested for blood transfusion? Definitely not. HGH? Nope. So what exactly was he "clean" of, marijuana? It seems this and a few other minor drugs are the only thing the ITF is testing for -- which explains why there are the only things athletes test positive for.

    This also shows that "Dr." Miller has been living in fantasy land regarding ITF's record. He claims that the lack of positive tests is the best indication that tennis is "clean," the whole time knowing that nothing was being tested for. It is funny that this website has more and more accurate data regarding tennis' testing program than the ITF's website.

    Also, testosterone is primarily a training drug. That is, people take it during training to build muscles that they will use later in the season. The obvious time to use this drug would be out-of-competition during the training part of the athlete's season. Barring unusual circumstances, an athlete would not take this drug in the middle of a competition. Conducting only 8 OOC tests for this drug is a joke.

    I'll add some speculation regarding the ABP program. I suspect that these early tests were to warn athletes to come into compliance with the yet to be announced parameters. That is, the tests were conducted prior to any parameters for banning the athlete. As such, I suspect that the results were simply used to warn the athletes that in the future, such a blood test could result in being banned, but because the program was not currently implemented, the results were simply being used to determine the parameters. Exactly how would you ban an athlete under a program that does not even exist?

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    1. @ MTracy

      I do agree with your take on the stats. However, testosterone is also a fave DURING competition, at least in cycling it was.

      Remember Lances' "special oil" and those roid patches he tucked under his one remaining testicle during the TdF? (Sorry to bring back that image) Hamilton does a good job at describing these scenarios.

      I was also checking the stats for what Spanish Anti-Doping did to test EPO and roids. Not much, as to be expected.

      The thing that kills me is that NO tennis journalist is able to use these blatant facts to get after Miller and his gigantic trompe-l'oeil of an anti-doping program. The ITF is NOT doing their job right, Miller needs to get fired pronto.

      Also, what about players, don't they know that stuff? Some players have spoken up for better testing, they might as well use/quote the available figures and vocally question the man who is in charge for it.

      Miller is the Verbrueggen of tennis: silent bans, faking injuries, phone calls with testees, weird sentence reductions for "cooperation", and a general intransparency when handling positive samples. Add to this little success in his core business: catching cheats.

      And then we look at his sorry-ass-looking testing quota - no CEO would keep his job when presenting so little results!

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    2. In terms of testosterone doping, the difference is that the TdF is 21 days of 5+ hour riding with a couple of rest days. There is a natural depletion of testosterone during the event.

      In contrast, tennis tournaments are relatively short and do not have nearly the same endurance requirements. Maybe after a 5 hour match when you play the next day, but those matches are few and far between.

      Now, if they were always performing testosterone tests, then no big deal. However, Miller always says he doesn't have enough money and they need to pick their tests wisely. In this case, the money for testosterone testing should be used for OOC tests. In competition testing would likely be micro-dosed and undetectable anyway (given the way in competition tests are done). Out of competition dosing would likely be more extensive and that would be the best place to try to catch it.

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    3. If they (collectively) have the money to build fancy retractable roofs over playing arenas where the stars can strut their stuff, then they have the money to implement a proper anti-doping strategy. Money is not an issue in tennis as far as anti-doping is concerned. It is the political will that is lacking.

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    4. It is amazing that the ITF carried our just over 300 out of competition tests in 2012, when cycling carried out just under 7,000. The French Senate's report is very revealing in that it quoted the Head of the ITF as telling the Senate Committee that it's not in the ITF interest to catch cheaters. This is what the rapporteur writes in the report:
      "The discomfort of the international federations vis-à-vis the positive controls is evident in the words of Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of ITF, before your committee, "if we are to believe the press, the greater the number of players tested positive, the better is the anti-doping program. However, if the number of positive cases is too high, there is a problem! So there is no solution! The program has many functions. The first is education. Each positive test is a failure"
      For the word "failure" read "embarrassment" and hence a tendency to close an eye, or two.
      A new facebook page has been launched covering news and reviews in the tennis doping world. It compliments on facebook the good work that is being done here through a blog. keep up the good blogging work. Together we can work to bring about the much needed change in tennis. Facebook page is
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Keep-Tennis-Drug-Free/344245782370472

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  2. Those stats are so depressing....... So many sports testing better than tennis.........

    Semi off-topic, but link below to one of the more pointed articles in the main stream sports press that I've read to date about PEDs in tennis. Greg Gerber refers directly to the rumors about Nadal..... In the video, Pam Shriver hints at increasing numbers of suspensions in the future.

    http://espn.go.com/sports/tennis/notebook/_/page/secondservings08012013/tennis-recent-drug-news-viktor-troicki-marin-cilic-depressing

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    1. It is an interesting article because this is first time that the "main stream" media has been so critical of the ITF. The article properly notes that "the International Tennis Federation, the sport's governing body, has been criticized repeatedly -- even the French Senate's recent report weighed in -- for a weak, shoddy oversight system."

      This contrasts to the drivel from other "main stream" outlets that praise tennis as being on the forefront of anti-doping. So, at least is is good to see a more realistic approach being taken.

      I did find it curious that Pam Shriver noted that the "athletes have been warned." Warned about what? Not to take drugs? I thought tennis was clean. Who exactly would warn them? If it was someone at the ITF, why would the ITF "warn" tennis player about increased testing or alternate testing strategies. Why does she think there will be additional bans in the future? More false positives, I guess.

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  4. "The governing body's chief medical officer claims positive testing in football is frequently as a result of recreational drug use.

    Fifa chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak believes there is no systematic doping in football, blaming the 70 to 90 positive tests per year on the use of cocaine and marijuana.

    The World Anti-Doping Authority (Wada) revealed earlier this month that footballers across the world produced 250 urine samples which led to further investigation by drugs testers in 2012, but football's governing body has stressed that recreational drug use is often to blame for positive tests.

    "I am confident that there is no systematic doping in football. There is no systematic doping culture in football. I am confident of this," Dvorak told the official Fifa website.

    "Of course there are individual cases, for sure. We do more than 30.000 sampling procedures every year and we have between 70 to 90 positive cases, most of them for marijuana and cocaine. We also have anabolic steroids, but these are individual cases.

    "So there are some cases; that’s why we are doing so many controls with such a stringent protocol. But we don’t have scientific evidence from the statistical analysis – and for me as a scientist I believe in facts and figures, not in speculation. We have no evidence that there is systematic doping."

    The issue of doping in football has reared its head once more this week after Fifa provisionally suspended an unnamed Tahiti player for the use of a forbidden substance at this summer's Confederations Cup."

    Shakes head again. Recreational drug use, really?

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    1. His paycheck must be really REALLY high.

      As I suspect his own recreational drugs use, to fabricte that insane level of bs.

      FIFA - makes the ITF look like beginners.

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    2. Barça have just announced that Neymar is apparently anemic and needs treatment.

      How convenient!

      http://asia.eurosport.com/football/la-liga/2011-2012/neymar-struggling-with-blood-condition-anaemia_sto3869836/story.shtml



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    3. I just read that as well. Who wants to bet he gains several pounds of muscle this season?

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    4. The same way they turned Messi into a freak of nature

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    5. a couple of weeks ago they already mentioned that he would have not enough muscle mass and that a switch in diet and a personal excercise plan will help him to gain some extra pounds in lean mass in a matter of weeks. and now he is anemic. you actually can't announce doping more open.

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    6. anaemia LOL. Guess they don't have doctors in Brazil who might have spotted this. No doubt he'll need EPO to make him better.

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    7. As a regular follower of German Bundesliga I have noticed that trend of sudden increase of muscle mass in young, up and coming players. The average age of players in Bundesliga has yet decreased from an average of 27,57 in 2002/03 to 25,33 last season. Benefits are obvious, younger, fitter but most importantly faster players in Bundesliga make also the game faster, especially on the break or more miles when pressing until the last minute of the game.

      Prime example: BVB and Bayern!

      It is quite telling how some young players (Draxler, Reus, Goetze, Özil) have transitioned from regular lean guys with a normal, age-appropriate muscle mass to beefier types.

      You can tell when they keep mentioning that they have been "hitting the gym" lately to muscle up. It is most noticeable in their thigh volume.

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    8. When I heard the news about Neymar, I immediately thought that they are going to shoot him up with EPO or some other kind of PED.

      I agree that doping in professional football is probably rampant - especially at the very top of the game. Whenever I watch the squad of Bayern Munich, I find myself wondering if that are still humans on the pitch or aliens. Those guys are sprinting up and down the pitch at blazing speed from the first till the last second every time. I have seen the same kind of physicality from Borussia Dortmund but not with the same consistency. That being said, Borussia Dortmund doesn't have the same depth as Bayern, so it's probably related to that.

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    9. From ESPN...

      LEAGUE WON'T YET REVEAL PLAYER NAMES

      Two Mexican League players tested positive for the steroid Clenbuterol during the opening weekend of action, Mexican Soccer Federation president Decio de Maria told ESPN's Graciela Resendiz on Tuesday.

      De Maria said the federation would not be releasing the names of the players until the investigation was complete. He said disciplinary committee president Eugenio Rivas would be in charge of the sanctions for the players in question.

      Although the players were not named, neither America, Tigres, Chivas nor Santos played in the first weekend of action, nor did the national team players who were seeing action in the 2013 Gold Cup.

      In the most recent doping case in Mexico in 2011, Antonio Naelson, Sinha, Francisco Rodriguez, Christian Bermudez, Guillermo Ochoa and Edgar Duenas all tested positive for Clenbuterol.

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  5. Petkovic is on the record for saying silly things:

    Although Andrea Petkovic agrees “that the rules are strict because obviously we all want to fight doping,” she believes that doping really wouldn’t improve a tennis player’s performance.

    “I’m also one that says doping doesn’t really help you in tennis,” the German commented. “You can be the fittest guy in the world and lift 200 kilos in weightlifting, but it doesn’t make you a better tennis player. It doesn’t give you the feeling of the court, the placement.

    But the 25-year-old, who has battled back from multiple injuries in her career, also believes that doping decisions like the one with Troicki should be somewhat personalized. She cited that she has known the Serbian since they were kids and is aware of his fainting spells due to needles.

    “I think it’s good that the rules are strict, but in cases like Viktor, you have to be able to look past the rules and you have to be able to make decisions that are personally indicated on that person,” she concluded."

    http://www.tennisgrandstand.com/2013/08/01/isner-petkovic-fish-comment-on-current-state-of-doping-in-tennis/

    That shabby article by some Romana Cvitkovic does make mention how Petkovic has had many injuries in the past - which would make her prone to get a little help, no? Like both Cilic and Troicki, she has also somewhat fallen of the ranks the past season. Yet, somehow the author dares not to be more outspoken and stops from drawing the necessary conclusions:

    injury recovery=doping helpful.

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  7. Replacement for EPO already there:

    "In endurance events, the use of the traditional drug of choice for the past two decades, Erythropoietin (EPO), is on the decline, with just 45 of the 25,408 (1 in 564) of the tests for it worldwide coming back positive for the now easily-detectable blood booster. However, speculation is rife that an undetectable replacement has been found in the form of growth arrest-specific 6, a protein which stimulates the secretion of EPO in the body and has long been considered as a replacement for EPO in the treatment of anaemia."

    http://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/genuine-athletes-are-being-done-out-of-it-29471055.html

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    1. Hmmm... And one of the side effects of this is "high glucose." (Which is what Cilic is currently claiming he tested positive for.)

      https://biologickinase.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/circulating-growth-arrest-specific-6-protein-is-associated-with-adipositysystemic-inflammation-and-insulin-resistance-among-overweight-and-obese-adolescents/

      (Note, "insulin resistance" would mean "high glucose" in your blood. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin_resistance noting "When these cells fail to respond adequately to circulating insulin, blood glucose levels rise.")

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  8. He is back and won a title!
    http://www.wtatennis.com/javaImages/fe/f0/0,,12781~12120318,00.jpg
    I missed you, Samuel.

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    1. That arm is bigger than my leg.

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    2. She's gearing up for the USO, which is her most successful slam to date. Looks like she has her sights set on another title there.

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  9. So the A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez, not Andy Roddick) goes down again for doping, with other top baseball players. All without failing a drugs test.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/chi-alex-rodriguez-suspension-20130805,0,6593901.story

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    1. One should note that the Yankees save about $30 million by this suspension.

      "Rodriguez is making $28 million this year, and his salary drops to $25 million next year and $21 million in 2015. If the 211-game penalty is upheld, his lost pay could range from $30.6 million to $32.7 million, depending on when exactly the suspension is served."

      http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BBO_MLB_DRUG_INVESTIGATION

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