WADA’s Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) Department has published its summary report from an investigation into the National Anti-Doping Organization of Ukraine (NADC) which found that athletes have been given advance notice of Out-of-Competition tests since 2012.
The investigation named ‘Operation Hercules’ began in 2019 and has uncovered evidence that Ukrainian athletes were given advance notice of the tests and often attended tests by appointment in large groups at the National Anti-Doping Organization of Ukraine offices. International Standard for Testing and Investigations states that, save in exceptional and justifiable circumstances, sample collection must take place with no advance warning to the athlete.
WADA I&I Director Gunter Younger said “Operation Hercules’ has convincing and corroborated evidence that NADC was engaged in the practice of telephoning athletes or contacting them through their coaches to request their attendance at the NADC, the following day, for testing. The evidence suggests that NADC would adopt this practice often before important international events and there were times when an entire discipline of the national team was present at the NADC awaiting testing.” The Operation also found that six in-competition samples were knowingly marked as out-of-competition samples in contravention of the WADA Code, however upon re-analysis all samples revealed no Prohibited Substances.
Younger added “The evidence suggests the samples were misreported under instruction and for the purposes of meeting the minimum number of out-of-competition tests required from an athlete prior to attending the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The failure to correctly record a sample as either in or out-of-competition has ramifications that affect the analysis conducted by the laboratory as some substances and methods are prohibited in competition only. In this way, a positive test could be incorrectly categorized as negative and an athlete could evade an anti-doping rule violation as a result. ‘Operation Hercules’ has raised serious questions about the integrity of NADC’s testing practices, and the competence of some staff. Moreover, the apparent longevity and brazenness of these practices suggests significant organizational failings within NADC.”
You can read the summary report here.