News20 Jul 2021

AIU details comprehensive testing programme ahead of Tokyo Olympics


Athletics Integrity Unit

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has revealed details of its testing programme in the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The AIU’s testing programme is highly targeted and intelligence-led and is aimed at the elite Registered Testing Pool that consists of 782 athletes from 77 countries including 315 athletes who are a part of an extended road running pool. The focus is on the quality of testing, developing individual testing plans for each athlete, while also maintaining the volume that is required for a comprehensive programme in a global sport like athletics.

In the first six months of this year (to 15 July), the AIU collected over 3800 samples from tests conducted across the world. More than 2700 of these samples were collected out-of-competition. The remaining 1100 samples were collected through in-competition testing. 

David Howman, Chair of the Athletics Integrity Unit said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges, but it has not affected the AIU’s determination to protect the integrity of athletics.

“While we have certainly had to adapt the way we are running our testing programme, our clear view was that as much testing as possible should continue while respecting all the applicable health and safety protocols. I believe that the details of our testing activities, from the start of 2020 to the middle of July 2021, will reassure clean athletes competing in Tokyo that we have done all we could to provide a level playing field.”

In 2020, the AIU collected over 4700 samples from athletes from 90 countries including 4204 samples collected out of competition. 

While the in-competition testing opportunities were limited due to cancellations of events, the AIU focused on no-notice out-of-competition testing which led to a number of important cases being prosecuted.  

These numbers are approximately 70% of the out-of-competition testing figures in a comparable year like 2018, which also did not have any major athletics event.  

Testing during the Games

The AIU is working with the International Testing Agency (ITA) in the implementation of the pre-Games and Games-time testing programme organised on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Approximately 300 pre-competition tests are planned to be conducted at the Athletes Village prior to the start of the athletics events on 29 July, while 500 in-competition tests are planned to be conducted at the two venues in Tokyo and Sapporo, which will host the road events. 

Download testing overview

Download press release

Athletics Integrity Unit

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) is the independent body created by World Athletics that manages all integrity issues – both doping and non-doping – for the sport of athletics. The remit of the AIU includes anti-doping, the pursuit of individuals engaged in age or competition results manipulation, investigating fraudulent behaviour with regards to transfers of allegiance, and detecting other misconduct including bribery and breaches of betting rules. It is the AIU’s role to drive cheats out of our sport, and to do everything within its power to support honest athletes around the world who dedicate their lives to reaching their sporting goals through dedication and hard work.