Implications of anti-doping regulations revealed at Plenary

The bar is about to be raised on anti-doping regulations. Out of competition testing comes one step nearer for hang glider and paraglider competition pilots. The FAI, in common with virtually all its member countries, is a signatory to WADA. It has to be, as many of its member nations will not allow events to take place from sporting Federations not signed up. The FAI has, to date, taken a minimalist stance on drug testing, and today is not the only international federation to be deemed non-compliant for not conducting out-of-competition testing. Now it has to decide on how to proceed. Essentially, FAI has to identify a number of top pilots to form a ‘testing pool’. These pilots have to be available for testing 1hour a day, every day. The size of the pool and number of tests is not specified, nor is it decided from which commissions these athletes will be selected. If hang gliding or paragliding pilots are on the list, then CIVL will be consulted. The best advice is for pilots competing in Cat 1 events this year to be prepared. At the very least, they should realise that they are liable to be tested for drugs at any time during international competitions. The rules do not prevent pilots from having a cool beer in the evening after flying, but only once they have checked with event organisers that they will not be subjected to anti-doping controls that day. Alcohol must have been eliminated from the body by the time pilots are ready to fly the following morning, so quantities consumed must be small. In addition, competitors must avoid using any of the substances and methods listed in the [http://www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/2009_Prohibited_List_ENG_Final_20_Sept_08.pdf|WADA Prohibited Substances list]. If you have to take one of the prohibited substances for medical reasons, a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) is required in accordance with [http://www.fai.org/documents/otherdocs/antidoping_rules|FAI Anti-Doping Rules]. Meanwhile, FAI is continuing to push for more general exemptions for aviation sports. Use of oxygen, for example, has already been exempted as it is a safety issue in some cases! Virtually everything anyone needs to know about doping (and probably a whole lot more) can be accessed through: http://www.fai.org/antidoping/programme