Yogeshwar Dutt’s bronze medal, won in the men’s 60kg freestyle wrestling at the 2012 London Olympics, is likely to be upgraded to silver (official confirmation is pending).
The Indian wrestler will move up after Russian Besik Khudukov, who had won silver, has tested positive for a banned substance following a reanalysis by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA).
Khudukov, also a former world champion, died in a car accident in 2013. But WADA and the International Olympic Committee’s policy of doping—the WADA Code—is strict about dope offensive and retrospective testing is something the agency is focusing on to ensure cheating athletes don’t get away with it… The idea being to protect the clean athletes.
What exactly is WADA’s procedure to hand out retrospective punishment? Here are 10 things you need to know about the anti-doping agency’s reanalysis system, also known as the “legacy testing” programme:
The World Anti-Doping Agency was founded in 1999 to bring consistency to anti-doping policies and regulations within sport organisations and governments across the world. During the Cold War era, athletes from the Eastern Bloc in particular were suspected being put on a systematic doping programme to win medals at major events, but there was no strong anti-doping system to apprehend them.
The WADA code was created in 2004 and the body took up various anti-doping measures. The code makes it possible to open a disciplinary proceeding within eight years from the date an anti-doping rule violation was committed.
This reflects WADA’s, and the anti-doping agencies, belief that re-testing, as science advances, is a powerful means for making sports clean.
WADA also believes that retrospective testing serves as a strong deterrent to those who may consider cheating.
Usually re-tests are done around the Olympics, or other major events, to prevent the athletes caught for their past doping from participating.
As per the revised WADA Code adopted in 2015, using advanced technology available, the period for re-testing samples was extended from eight years to 10 years.
A total of 454 doping samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics were re-tested before the Rio Games and 31 athletes from six sports were found positive. The tainted athletes came from 12 nations.
The IOC and WADA identified and agreed on the sports and countries to be targeted during retest of the samples from Beijing and London. This included, in particular, athletes likely to compete in Rio who also competed in London and Beijing, and specific methods of analysis where there have been advances during the time since the two previous games.
The WADA code has been instrumental in introducing the concept of “non-analytical” rule violations. Here, anti-doping organisations can apply sanctions even in cases where there is no positive doping sample, but where there may be evidence that a doping violation has occurred—through a combination of three missed tests, athletes not complying with the rule to keep WADA informed of their whereabouts daily, longitudinal testing and evidence unearthed through a probe.