An overwhelming majority of elite track and field athletes are concerned about the reduction of testing for banned substances during the coronavirus pandemic, according to results of a survey released on Friday.
The Athletics Association, which bills itself as the unified voice of professional athletes, said on its Twitter feed that of 685 athletes polled globally, 78% were concerned about the validity of results due to reduced testing.
“Further clarity is needed on the confidence that athletes, and the public, can have in the results achieved during this period,” it says.
A statement from the Athletics Association following our survey that reached almost 700 athletes in 82 countries in just 24 hours.#WeAreTheSport pic.twitter.com/lQMtnBqXWD
— TheAthleticsAssociation (@WeAreTheSport) April 10, 2020
With the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympic Games postponed for 12-months, the survey also found that 82% of athletes continue to train, and that 86% want to return to competition at some stage this year if it is safe to do so.
But there was less consensus over how qualifying for the Olympics should be determined.
While 60% want successful Olympic qualifying marks achieved before December to count, 56% also think this might be unfair given that lockdown policies vary from place to place.
“In terms of Olympic qualification, 81% of athletes surveyed think that the world rankings system needs to be reconsidered,” it says.
“These results together demonstrate the myriad of complex issues thrown up by the new rankings system in determining who qualifies for the Olympics, magnified for everyone involved at this uncertain time.”