The why’s and wherefores
If you want to know what athletes have to
do when it comes to staying within the
rules of anti-doping, have a look on the
World Rowing website under ‘anti-doping’.
You will soon notice that there is a lot of
information. There’s a lot of reading, it’s full
of legal terminology and it’s serious.
It’s also simple – doping is wrong and there
are plenty of measures in place to try to
stamp it out.
Here is a simplification of what athletes must do
to comply with the WADA World Anti-doping
Code, stay within the rules of being clean, stay in
the boat and stay out of court.
1. The first thing you need to do is to always
check what you are putting in your body. It
doesn’t matter if you are buying it yourself or if
a doctor or coach is giving it to you. Be aware
that supplements can be contaminated by
prohibited substances which are not indicated
on the label of the product.
2. Then if you are a really, really good rower you
may be selected for your country’s national
3. If you place first at a major FISA event, your
name goes automatically onto the FISA
‘registered testing pool’ (RTP). This is a list that
includes the current rowing heroes. The FISA
Anti-Doping Committee also has the right to
select other rowers based on other criteria.
You may also be included in the RTP of your
national anti-doping organisation.
4. The selected athletes are required to use WADA’s
online‘ADAMS’ system to keep FISA and WADA
informed of their location (or ‘whereabouts’)
every day of the year and indicate a 60-minute
time window for when they are available, as
testing can happen any day, between 6am and
11pm, in and out of competition. ADAMS must
be completed quarterly with updates made of
any changes. Detailed? Yes.
5. As many of the prohibited substances on the
WADA prohibited substances list can also be
legitimate drugs used to treat medical issues,
rowers who require any of these drugs for
legitimate medical purposes must receive
permission in advance. This means requesting
a Therapeutic Use Exemption ( TUE) from FISA.
The TUE, if approved by FISA’s TUE panel of
respected doctors, may be subjected to a
review by WADA. The most common drugs
legitimately used amongst rowers are asthma-
6. If an athlete is selected for testing it can be
either a blood or urine sample or both. All
completed tests are then reported to FISA and