The International Canoe Federation (ICF) and the International Testing Agency (ITA) have entered a partnership to enhance the independence and professionalisation of the anti-doping program for paddling athletes.

As of the beginning of 2023, the ITA is managing all ICF clean sport operations, including results management.

The ICF congress agreed in November to delegate the entire anti-doping program for the paddling sports it is governing to the ITA. The independent expert organisation had already begun handling certain clean sport areas for the ICF in 2022 before the decision for full delegation was ratified during the congress, with the aim to further professionalise anti-doping efforts for its athletes and increase their independence.

The ITA has been managing the entire testing program for ICF since the3 beginning of 2023, both for in- and out-of-competition doping controls. This testing program around a risk assessment looking at factors which include physiological profile and sports specificities of the paddling disciplines the ICF is representing.

The administration of the Athlete Biological Passports (ABPs) is also managed by the ITA.

The ITA has also devised a long-term strategy for samples collected from canoe and kayak athletes to increase the impact and deterrence factor of the ICF anti-doping program,. The retained samples may be analysed up to ten years after the collection date if new information from investigations provides specific evidence or improved and further developed laboratory technology provides enhanced analysis.

The ITA will also be responsible for the administration of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) for ICF athletes. Applications for TUEs will be handled by the ITA’s International Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee (ITUEC), a network of some of the world’s best physicians and pharmacists with expertise in sports medicine, providing a confidential and respectful review of athletes’ medical information.

To provide ICF athletes with a targeted and intelligence-based anti-doping program, the ITA will lead the collection of relevant information allowing confidential information to be shared through its doping reporting platform REVEAL.

The ITA will also raise awareness of doping, support the values of clean sport, and contribute to doping prevention among all athletes taking part in canoe sports by establishing a four-year education plan beginning in 2023 in accordance with WADA's International Standard for Education.

To support the implementation of this plan, the ITA will introduce special online and event-based educational activities specifically aimed at ICF athletes.

All clean sport activities on behalf of the ICF are carried out by the ITA in strict compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and its international standards, with ITA’s dedicated Regulatory Compliance Unit ensuring full alignment with all mandatory rules. Any potential anti-doping rule violations stemming from its anti-doping efforts will be subject to independent results management by the ITA.

“The various disciplines under the ICF combine an exciting mix of agility, strength and endurance,” ITA Director General Benjamin Cohen said.

“My team and I have already collaborated with ICF during Tokyo 2020 and are very motivated to support ICF’s anti-doping program throughout the year. I am delighted that the ICF and its stakeholders took the important step towards the independence of its clean sport efforts during its congress late last year with the full delegation of its anti-doping program to the ITA.

“I thank them for entrusting us with this responsibility and for believing in us to support fair play and protect their athletes.”

ICF President Thomas Konietzko said the partnership will provide benefits for the international canoeing family.

“At the ICF we have always prided ourselves on our tough stand against doping in sport, and also for the leadership role we have taken in educating our athlete community about clean sports,” ICF President, Thomas Konietzko, said.

“By partnering with the ITA, we will take this commitment to the next level. We are impressed by the incredible amount of work the ITA has already done in this area and are confident we will enjoy a strong partnership.”