torsdag 26 februari 2009

New WADA “whereabouts” testing system – WADA joke!

By Randy Starkman, Toronto Star

Canadian triathlon ace Simon Whitfield made a desperate plea on his blog nearly two months ago after trying to fill out the new forms that the World Anti-Doping Agency created for out-of competition testing, also known as the “whereabouts” rule.
“I Simon Whitfield volunteer to pay for and wear a GPS tracking unit so that CCES, WADA and any other acronym totting organization can track me down at any minute of the day and make me pee in a bottle while taking blood from my arm. Seriously I do. I'll start tomorrow if only to not have to fill out this insane form. I have nothing what so ever to hide. You can track my whereabouts via GPS to your hearts content.”
Whitfield wasn’t kidding. In hindsight, he was the canary in the coal mine on this "whereabouts" issue which is causing consternation to athletes around the world, from the likes of tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams to ski star Lindsey Vonn and American hurdler Lolo Jones. WADA is under fire – and rightly so – for an ill conceived system that now forces athletes to provide three months’ notice of their location an an hour each day for seven days a week between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. for testing. Even beyond the unwieldiness of such a program and its restrictions on right to privacy, Canadian athletes like Whitfield and Olympic speed skating champion Clara Hughes have found the computer system set up to monitor the program ridiculously hard to navigate. It has cost them hours in time trying to register – with “trying” being the operative word, as they wind up having to give up in frustration. Wrote Hughes on her blog: “It has become an absolute nightmare. It’s been revamped and I strongly believe the individual who created the new format should be fired. It’s virtually impossible to fill out accurately, and after over six hours of trying this past time I gave it the ‘as good as it’s gonna get’ seal and gave up.”You know the crazy thing? Athletes like A-Rod, who make gazillions of dollars, don’t have to go through anything like this. (A-Rod would probably get his cousin to fill out his form). They can test positive, we don’t hear about if for years – if at all – and their livelihood isn’t affected at all. Olympic athletes like Whitfield and Hughes have to fill out forms notifying pee collectors of their every move three months in advance using forms so complex that their livelihoods are put at risk if they get it wrong.
What a farce.

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