On Feb. 1, 2021, the International Testing Agency (ITA) announced the launch of its new doping reporting platform, “Reveal.” The platform allows for would-be whistleblowers to disclose anonymous tips about their suspicions of doping within the sport of weightlifting. The ITA’s announcement, which was echoed by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), stated that any information shared through Reveal would be “applied in the most effective way for clean sport and athlete protection.”
The ITA plans to be cooperative with the information received through Reveal with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), national anti-doping organizations, and law enforcement, if necessary. The addition of Reveal to the options available for whistleblowers currently — such as WADA’s “Speak Up” platform launched in 2017 — is meant to “complement the existing global infrastructure for information sharing about doping violations.”
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The ITA stated that “concrete tips about suspected doping offenses are one of the most effective ways to keep sport clean.” Anonymous tips regarding potential doping violations can also help the ITA and other agencies “detect trends and…solve bigger puzzles.”
For the most part…it is not big scoops but…small bits of information [that] help intelligence departments of anti-doping agencies.
Reveal’s launch comes at a time when the volume of doping violations has played a role in jeopardizing weightlifting’s future in the Olympic Games program. In December 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reduced weightlifting’s athlete quota by 76 spots — the largest reduction of any sport — for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The IOC has voiced the need for governance reform within the IWF, particularly in anti-doping measures, and has thus far not been satisfied with the progress made. The European Weightlifting Federation (EWF) and British Weight Lifting (BWL) have also shared their opposition to the IWF’s progress.
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Anti-doping violations have plagued the sport of weightlifting since the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Even though the IWF re-established the Anti-Doping Commission (ADC) in 2020, many athletes from the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games tested positive for banned substances during retests.
The 2016 Rio Games gold medalist in the 77-kilogram class Nijat Rahimov was suspended due to a urine substitution. And 2012 Games gold medalist in the 105-kilogram class Oleksiy Torokhtiy had his medals stripped after his retests were positive for the banned substance turinabol (dehydrochloromethyltestosterone)
Weightlifters from Thailand and Malaysia are banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games for doping violations. Turkey’s Erol Bilgen and Romania’s Razvan Martin and Roxana Cocos — both of whom medaled at the 2012 London Games — also failed doping retests.
Five-time world champion weightlifter Tatiana Kashirina of Russia was recently suspended after doping suspicion. Six more Russian weightlifters were also recently found in violation of the IWF’s anti-doping policy. Global anti-doping leaders voted unanimously to ban Russia from major international competitions for four years on Dec. 9, 2019. (Eligible athletes can still compete but will not represent Russia, bear the Russian flag, or have the Russian national anthem played.)
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The Director General of the ITA Benjamin Cohen said in the announcement, “The launch of Reveal is an…essential tool which will strengthen our fight for clean sport. All persons involved in sport have a responsibility to protect its values of fair play and expose doping abuses they have heard about or seen.”
Whistleblowers can disclose anti-doping violation tips anonymously to the ITA through Reveal. “Any alleged Anti-Doping Rule Violation or any act or omission that could undermine the fight against doping” may be reported.
Feature image from IWF’s Instagram page: @iwfnet