One key question that has come out of the Lizzie Armitstead debacle is that of the role of UK Anti-Doping – UKAD. In the shadows of the RUSADA scandal that has sent shockwaves across the world of sport, doping has never been more in the spotlight.

It is key to note that Armitstead had not shown any indication of failing a doping test, this episode has centred around her missing of three tests inside a 12-month period, which automatically triggers a ban from competition.

The cyclist however has managed to escape a ban through an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), against the process which UKAD undertook during the first missed test in August 2015.

In an interview given to Sky Sports, Armitstead described how the tester from UKAD had tried to get in contact with her whilst at a hotel for a race in Sweden. CAS have subsequently deemed that this tester did not comply with the protocol for finding an athlete which ultimately has left Lizzie free to compete in Rio.

Do we need to look at the ways in which doping testers from UKAD operate, for example have there been any other examples of missed tests caused by this? At a time when athletes and doping are under such scrutiny from events around the world the protocols in place need to be extra tight and shown to be working perfectly.

That UKAD have placed a ban on a genuine British medal contender before an Olympic Games does give a level of comfort however that British sport is not complicit in any corruption, like what has been found to have been happening in Russia. Yes Lizzie Armitstead has been cleared, but that was by CAS who are an independent regulatory body.

UKAD have also this week announced that Tyson Fury was banned before his proposed rematch with Wladimir Klitschko in June for an alleged failed test, along with his cousin Hughie. The fight was ultimately postponed by Fury, who cited an ankle injury as the reason for the cancellation on the same day that UKAD banned the boxer, yet details of the failed test and the ban have only just been released.

Together with the Armitstead instances should we be asking that any doping offences, missed tests etc be made public knowledge. Would this help with transparency that has plagued sport thanks to the murky world of doping? As stakeholders in sport, especially with many athletes funded by lottery funding do the public have the right to know when athletes have transgressed?

 

 

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