2,500 anti-doping tests to be taken during PyeongChang Games
PYEONGCHANG, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- A total of 2,500 urine and blood tests are planned during the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, confirmed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) here on Thursday.
The 2500 tests planned in PyeongChang include around 1600 in-competition and 900 out-of-competition.
According to WADA's director general Olivier Niggli, some 17,000 samples have been tested in pre-Games controls in the seven winter sports since April, 2017, which was described as "very substantial" by WADA president Sir Craig Reedie.
"I hope it will give the athletes comfort that they are in a fair and honest competition," Reedie told a press conference on the eve of the Games' opening ceremony.
"Every effort has been made to provide a proper playing field for the athletes and I hope, more than anything else, that at the end of the Games that is what it will be," added the Scot, a former vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Reedie also said that a priority for WADA is to have a functioning national anti-doping agency in Russia and they expect that the Russian Antip-Doping Agency (RUSADA) will be reinstated in its rights several months after the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang.
"WADA will continue, as it does constantly and at the moment with considerable difficultly, to work with Russian authorities," he said.
Asked whether he thought the ban on Russian athletes would remain in place till 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Reedie said: "I hope not, clearly."
"I hope that the restoration of RUSADA will not take place in 2020, when the Summer Olympics will be held, but much earlier," he added. "We are working in this direction."
A total of 169 Russian athletes so far are given the permission to compete neutrally under the banner of Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) since the IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee last December after evidence emerged of widespread doping.
Though else 13 athletes and two coaches from Russia had their suspension lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAF), the IOC refused to give them permission for PyeongChang 2018.
WADA is meanwhile hoping to increase its annual budget of 30 million dollars by 50 per cent to 45 million.
"After the last 18 months there is an increased belief in governments that they should face up their obligations," Reedie said.