Wednesday 22 November 2017

Anti-doping 'focus' leads to surge in blood testing

There was a 10pc rise in the number of anti-doping blood tests conducted in Irish sport in 2016. Stock picture
There was a 10pc rise in the number of anti-doping blood tests conducted in Irish sport in 2016. Stock picture

Gavin White

There was a 10pc rise in the number of anti-doping blood tests conducted in Irish sport in 2016.

In its annual report for 2016, Sport Ireland said it was focused on bringing about an "elimination to doping in sport".

Sport Ireland reported a positive reaction to an increased anti-doping social media campaign.

A total of 1,003 anti-doping tests were taken in 2016 across all sports, with athletics the most tested sport with 250. Cycling Ireland conducted 155 tests, while the IRFU carried out 113.

The organisation, which is chaired by workplace mediator Kieran Mulvey, said it hoped people could come forward to help identify any suspected offences.

"Sport Ireland encourages anyone who detects, identifies, witnesses, knows of, or has reasonable grounds to suspect that cheating has occurred to come forward and report suspected doping violations," the report said.

In a greater focus on anti-doping, the organisation held 19 education seminars for athletes and professional sports in 2016.

In 2016, trained tutors from the Sport Ireland tutor training programme delivered a combined total of 52 seminars within their respective sports.

The organisation trained a further 18 anti-doping tutors from GAA, Athletics Ireland, Swim Ireland, and Gymnastics Ireland.

In addition, there were 47,000 queries in 2016 on the medication checker website www.eirpharm.com, an increase of nearly 50pc over the previous year.

The report also revealed that the Football Association of Ireland received a specific women's grant of €142,500 in 2016 to help develop the sport, before this year's controversy surrounding the women's national team.

A long-burning resentment by members of the senior women's international side came to a head in April when a group of 13 players spoke of frustrations with the FAI.

Players outlined their grievances, such as the lack of proper kit, gym membership and other matters which led to the threat of strike action.

Irish Independent

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