Why do Whereabouts matter?

No matter if they are competing during the season or if they are training during the off-season –one thing never changes and never loses importance: Biathletes must file their whereabouts meticulously with the World Anti-Doping Agency. If the athletes are unavailable for out-of-competition testing, they run the risk of facing severe consequences: such as a doping ban of up to two years.

In the light of some recent cases in biathlon, like Andrejs Rastorgujevs’, we have checked with the BIU about the importance of whereabouts in the fight against doping, and why every athlete needs to understand a few straight-forwarded rules related to the topic.

A vital part of the fight against doping

Out-of-competition testing is crucial in the fight against doping because some prohibited substances and methods are detectable only for a limited period in an athlete’s body while maintaining a performance-enhancing effect. That is why whereabouts are one of the most effective means of doping detection since they enable out-of-competition doping controls conducted without prior notice to athletes.

Head of the Biathlon Integrity Unit, Greg McKenna, explains:

“The BIU strives to provide good quality educational information on the athlete's obligations. The Whereabouts Rule is fundamental to ensuring a clean sport, and the BIU will ensure its enforcement within biathlon. I must underline that all athletes have a personal responsibility to keep their whereabouts information up to date and to avoid missing any tests.”

How does it work in praxis?

Athletes who are part of the Registered Testing Pool of either the IBU or their NADO must file their whereabouts on time every quarter, and be at the right place for the 60-minute time slot.

It is recommended that athletes file their whereabouts. Even if someone else, like the athlete’s coach or an agent, does it for them, the responsibility still rests with the athlete.

Short note changes of travel plans or competition plans can occur at any time but these must also be communicated to avoid a whereabouts no-show.

Competition schedules, home addresses and regularly used training facilities also need to be provided in the whereabouts information.

The sum of several whereabouts misses is much more than a slap on the wrist: Any combination of 3 filling failures or missed tests in a 12-month-period may lead to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.

In the case of Andrejs Rastorgujevs (Latvia), the Appeals Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) recently announced the 18-month ban imposed by the CAS Anti-Doping Division (CAS ADD) following three whereabouts failures in 12 months.

The period of ineligibility commenced on 11 March 2021, the start date of the imposed provisional suspension. All competitive results obtained by Rastorgujevs from 1 July 2020 until the date on which the CAS ADD decision enters into force are disqualified, with all resulting consequences including forfeiture of medals, points, and prizes. Rastorgujevs won the Gold medal in the Individual at the Open European Championships in 2021. This result will therefore be disqualified.

McKenna adds:

“Elite athletes are an example for others and must demonstrate their commitment to clean and fair sports by following these practices.”

For more information about whereabouts, click here.

Photo: IBU Archives

Share this article

Header iconSign up for our newsletter