Doping test

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A doping test is carried out on athletes and sport horses in order to determine unauthorized doping and thus ensure the fairest possible conditions in competition . This article describes the procedure for doping control of urine samples . There is a separate article on blood doping .

Doping control

Athletes who are possible participants in national and international competitions as well as members of the cadre are checked . During competitions, the control is carried out by trained personnel who are employed by the organizer. If top athletes travel, they have to de-register with the association, regardless of whether they are going on vacation or to a training camp. It must be possible to test them around the clock anywhere in the world. A test costs several hundred euros.

Doping controls outside of the competition

If a control is announced, the place and time of the test will be announced in advance. An announcement should be made as soon as possible and the test should be carried out no later than six hours after the announcement. Unannounced checks take place without notice, for example during club training. The test should be carried out no later than one hour after contacting the person to be examined, so that they only have the opportunity to finish the activity they were currently engaged in. From the time of contact, the person to be checked remains under constant surveillance by the control staff.

Carrying out the control

The person being screened must provide a sample of their urine . This happens under supervision and precise visual inspection. That is, the control personnel observe the urine output with the proviso that they look at the body outlet opening in order to rule out manipulation. Athletes under the age of 16 are allowed to submit the urine sample without visual inspection. The delivered urine sample, at least 90 milliliters, is divided into an A and a B bottle in an approximately 2 to 1 ratio.

In the presence of the person to be checked, the density and the pH of the A sample are measured using a Lab stick or refractometer . The B-sample is sealed and stored so that it can later be independently checked whether the athlete was doped. If the measured pH value is outside the range 5.0 to 8.0 or the urine density is below 1.010 g / cm 3 , then the person concerned can be asked to carry out further tests because doping is suspected.

If the athlete refuses to provide a urine sample, the test will be considered positive. The refusal is recorded and reported to the respective association. For several years now, in addition to urine tests, blood tests have also been carried out after competitions at major events and in selected sports such as cycling and cross-country skiing. According to Section 15.2 of the Spanish Anti-Doping Act, checks between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. are not permitted. In the meantime, however, all doping controls have been reduced to absurdity, giving the old question of privacy and fair play a new dimension.

Manipulation of the urine sample

Despite strict regulations on how controls should be carried out, there are ways to manipulate controls.

There is the possibility of urinating before the sample and then re-introducing “clean” urine through recatheterization . Or the urine is filled from another container into the container provided for the urine. The sample can also be diluted with water or mixed with ethanol and detergents . For example, in 1998 Michelle Smith's sample showed an alcohol content that would have caused the multiple Olympic champion to die if she had really drunk that much alcohol. There are other chemicals called masking agents that also affect the sample. These include, for example, the uricosuric probenecid , which is therefore on the WADA doping list. Bromantane affects the readings of testosterone and epitestosterone . When you add epitestosterone, this automatically affects the testosterone to epitestosterone ratio. This makes a high testosterone level more difficult to determine.

Competition controls

Pre-competition controls

Immediately before competitions, blood samples are taken in some endurance sports to check the hemoglobin level (e.g. for cross-country skiing) or hematocrit (e.g. for cycling). The advantage of blood samples is that the result is available immediately. If the limit values ​​are exceeded, the competition will be temporarily suspended. The athlete declares that he or she agrees that blood samples may be taken, which may interfere with physical integrity. The athlete may not take part in competitions without this consent.

Doping controls after competitions

The athlete must report to a control station within 45 minutes of the end of the competition in order to be checked.

Analytical methods for examining urine samples

Both chromatographic and enzyme-immunological methods are used for the qualitative and quantitative determination of the prohibited substances named in the current doping list . Due to their high specificity and sensitivity , both the GC / MS and the HP LC / MS are after adequate sample preparation by various extraction methods such as. B. also the solid phase extraction (SPE) used for analysis. In many cases, newer analytical methods get by without complex sample preparation. Such substances, which are not accessible to chromatography, are analyzed , among other things, by enzyme immunoassays . The procedures mentioned for urine analysis can also be used for the analysis of serum samples after appropriate adjustments. The concentrations of the substances that are accessible to these methods are currently in the range of pg / ml to fg / ml. Laboratories that want to qualify for official doping analysis at international competitions must apply for accreditation to the IOC . In the Federal Republic of Germany, such tests are carried out in the laboratories of the German Sport University in Cologne and at the Institute for Doping Analysis and Sports Biochemistry (IDAS) (accredited by WADA since January 2018) in Kreischa , Saxony , as an affiliated institute of the TU Dresden .

Duration of verifiability

The quality of urine tests and the frequency required to guarantee a really clean sport depends, among other things, on how long the relevant substances can be detected in the urine. These substances fall into three main categories:

  • 12–24 hours ( human growth hormone (hGH), microdoping)
  • 48–72 hours (most substances such as erythropoietin (rHuEPO))
  • 120 hours (new tests for older preparations, including most anabolic steroids)

In order to guarantee a complete control, a lot of controls would have to be carried out per year.

See also


  • Dirk Clasing, R. Klaus Müller: doping control. Information for active people, supervisors and doctors on combating drug abuse in sport . 4th, revised edition. Sportverlag Strauss, Cologne 2006, ISBN 3-89001-134-9 .

Web links

Wiktionary: doping test  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


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