November 24, 2020

Fewer Ukad drug tests creates ‘free-for-all’ – Jessica Judd

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Britain's Jessica Judd
Jessica Judd is the reigning British 5,000m champion

British athlete Jessica Judd says the reduction in drug testing before next year’s Olympics is “really worrying” and a “free-for-all” for cheating.

UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) has conducted 1,532 tests so far in 2020, down from 5,155 across the same six-month period last year.

There were 126 tests between April and June, because of the coronavirus pandemic, and that number has increased to 1,406 tests between 1 July and 30 September.

The 25-year-old, who won the British 5,000m title in September, told BBC Radio 5 Live’s The Inside Track: “I’ve no results to show I’ve done this year clean.

“I’ve got no proof and if I haven’t then how many other people haven’t?”

“It’s not good. I understand with lockdown there’s an issue there but it should be going up.

“To hear it’s nowhere near what it was last year is really worrying. I understand why there is a reduction but I don’t understand why it had to be broadcast to the world.

“It’s like a company saying there are not going to be security cameras there that weekend.

“It’s just like a free-for-all. I don’t think it’s a positive thing to put out on that stage and I think it’s a bad move, endorsing the fact you could get away with anything.

“I’ve been drug tested once this year and that was at a really low-key competition. I’ve had no-one at my house testing out of competition or doing whereabouts testing.”

Judd, who is not a lottery funded athlete, added: “We’ve got the biggest event coming up next year and there’s just no evidence to say anyone is going to be there in a clean way. I think that’s a massive issue.”

Ukad’s director of testing Hamish Coffey says the organisation released details of its reduced testing in 2020 because its seeks to be transparent about its work.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It would be foolish to assume there aren’t people who will always look to take advantage.

“We did publicly announce a reduction in our testing programme and we felt it was right at the time – we want to be as transparent as we can. I’d like to reassure athletes they should have confidence in the ongoing testing programme.

“Yes, numbers are lower, but we have been conducting a huge amount of work throughout the pandemic – arguably [we have been] busier than usual.

“Our testing continues to be risk-based and intelligence-led. Every test we do, there is a huge amount of time and effort that goes in to that to make sure we are testing the right people, at the right time, for the right substances.

“There is no test that is purely random, there’s always an element of it being targeted and that hasn’t changed throughout the pandemic.”

Coffey said that although urine tests had continued it “wasn’t really possible” for Ukad to carry out blood tests due to safety concerns at the start of the pandemic.

He said that was no longer the case and “athletes can be tested any time, anywhere”.

The number of tests carried out on behalf of UK Athletics stands at 103 for 2020 – 23 in competition and 80 out of competition. In 2019, there were 372 across the same period.

There have also been 26 tests carried out on behalf of World Athletics so far in 2020, compared to 134 over the same period in 2019.

Listen to BBC Radio 5 Live’s The Inside Track

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