Promoting Clean Climbing through doping controls and education

The UIAA’s commitment to anti-doping and promotion of ‘Clean Climbing’ is a significant part of its activities. The federation has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, and its work in this field is centered in two distinct areas – the enforcement of doping controls and development of educational practices.

The first component, doping controls, is an obligatory element, one focused on the testing of athletes, and sport specific substances, both out of competition and during the annual UIAA Ice Climbing events, typically held from December to March.

“Our rules are fully in compliance with the World Anti-Doping code,” explains Nenad Dikic, President of the UIAA Anti-Doping Commission since 2007. “Not only have we done everything in our power to practically implement all of the standards, last year we started the testing of sport-specific substances.”

Ice climbers have been tested from the beginning of the 2004 season. “Out of competition, the UIAA is probably testing the highest number of athletes in relation to the pool of competitors compared to other federations,” explains Dikic, adding: “Since ice climbing is a relatively small community we are in close communication with the athletes and can ensure on a personal level that they are well informed and briefed. However, as the sport grows and more athletes from different countries participate, and after a turbulent year for anti-doping generally, we have decided to strengthen our process by organizing an online educational test for all athletes as part of their registration.”

UIAA Anti-Doping

UIAA Anti-Doping Commission President Nenad Dikic presents Clean Climbing at the 2016 UIAA General Assembly

This education component is gathering increasing importance. Until now it has been formed by an athletes’ outreach programme (first held in 2009) and the dissemination of information through electronic media. This initiative has expanded with an online educational platform, designed to ensure ice climbers complete an anti-doping questionnaire which becomes a mandatory component of their annual competition licence. The direct link for athletes to complete the questionnaire is  http://uiaa.smas.org.

The UIAA Anti-Doping and Ice Climbing commissions work very closely in preparation for events and in ensuring each event is run consistently and in the same professional manner. Doping control officers are present at almost every competition, and when not on site, are substituted by representatives from a national anti-doping agency. The Commission also works on training local doctors at specific events, a distinct legacy aspect of their work.

“Our work has been recognized and recently praised by the IOC,” confirms Dikic, “And our Commission has passed on its expertise on to numerous National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) and international federations. In many cases, the UIAA Anti-Doping Commission is just informed about certain violations without demand to interfere. Since we have legal experts in the Commission we have helped a number of NADOs in some cases at the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne. After the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) recently became a Unit Member of UIAA we expect even more demand for our expertise internationally.”

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Note: Athletes and Member Federations are informed that WADA’s prohibited substance list for 2017 is now published on the UIAA website. These new rules take effect on 1 January, 2017