Best practice not to alert athletes to presence of drug testers - Does Coleman have a case?

By Ricardo Chambers & Donald Oliver
Salwa Eid Naser (left) and Christian Coleman Salwa Eid Naser (left) and Christian Coleman

Dr Sasha Sutherland, the Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization, RADO, says calling an athlete to alert them about the presence of a doping control officer goes against the international standard for testing.

Dr Sutherland was explaining the testing protocols on the Commentators podcast with Ricardo Chambers and Donald Oliver.

Recently, there have been high-profile whereabouts violations with Christian Coleman and World Champion Saeed El-Naser falling afoul.  

Coleman, in particular, was very vocal about a day he is alleged to have missed when testing agents visited his home but were unable to reach him because he was out shopping. Coleman insists the tests could have taken place had anybody called him.

In relation to whether it was advisable for doping control officers, DCOs, to call an athlete to advise they are at the location for testing Dr Sutherland said: “this is not practiced under the international standard for testing and investigations.”

She added that “testing is executed under the authority that there is no advanced notice provided to athletes.”

“This maintains the integrity of the process and it ensures the athlete has no time to alter the urine, empty their bladder or dispose of anything that can suggest foul play.”

She admitted that there have been situations where calls have been made before the testing slot is up but made it clear that should only be for “reporting” purposes.

“So no doping control officer is going to call an athlete and say I’m outside your house and I am trying to test you- where are you?”

“I don’t think that’s the manner in which it’s done. It’s unprofessional, it undermines the integrity of the process and it deviates from the international standard for testing and investigations.”

Dr Sutherland has been with the RADO since 2014 and took over as Executive Director in 2018.

The Commentators also discussed the ongoing whereabouts violation for World 100m champion Christian Coleman of the United States.

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