What is an Athlete Biological Passport (ABP)?
The ABP is an electronic record of an athlete's biological values that is developed over time from multiple collections of blood samples.
The ABP differs from traditional detection methods by looking for the effects of blood doping rather than detecting the prohibited substances or methods used. The advantage of this approach is the biological effects of a performance-enhancing agent are commonly present and detectable for a longer period than the agent itself.
Programs incorporating an ABP have been successfully implemented internationally. A number of cases relying on the ABP have successfully been run through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The ABP will be focused on Australia's elite athletes; however, all athletes in ASADA's testing jurisdiction should be aware they can be selected for ABP testing.
What it will mean for Australian athletes?
The program will affect the way Australian athletes provide blood samples and new testing procedures will be implemented to accommodate the ABP.
The main differences to the current process will be:
- The ABP testing process will include a two-hour waiting period following training or competition.
- ASADA will be collecting information from athletes via a questionnaire, which will take about ten minutes to complete.
The questionnaire will also be used in ASADA's traditional blood testing program, however, the two hour waiting period, following training or competition, will only apply to athletes tested under ABP conditions.
Full details of the testing process are available through ASADA's revised Athlete Testing Guide, located on the ASADA website. Further information can also be found on ASADA's:
ATHLETE BIOLOGICAL PASSPORT – Q&A
How many samples are required to obtain an Athlete Biological Passport?
The ABP testing will enable the monitoring of athletes over the lifetime of their career. Each test allows an athlete’s biological values to be compared with future or past collections and to be monitored for fluctuations which may indicate the use of a prohibited substance or method. The number of samples required to generate an athlete’s ABP varies from athlete to athlete.
Will the Athlete Biological Passport testing replace traditional testing?
The movement against doping relies on several strategies, including the direct testing of athletes as well as evidence gathered in investigations. By combining these strategies, and seeking new ones to address emerging threats, the global elimination of doping will be more effective.
ASADA recognises that if urine and blood tests are to be maintained and improved upon they will have to be combined with new tools like longitudinal monitoring of blood values.
Will every Athlete Biological Passport test require an athlete to wait two hours?
If an athlete is notified of the need to provide a blood sample when there has been more than two hours since training or competition, an ABP sample collection can commence following a ten minute time-out period in which the athlete is seated in a chair.
ASADA will make efforts to test athletes under ABP conditions away from training or competition, however, to ensure the integrity of, and to maximise the unpredictability of our testing program, athletes should be aware this testing can occur at any time.
Why is the two hour waiting time required for Athlete Biological Passport testing necessary?
Testing under ABP conditions ensure a consistent approach to collection, transport and analysis of blood sample wherever an athlete is across the world. The basis for the two hours waiting time is to allow an athlete's heart rate, blood pressure and importantly blood distribution, to reach a consistent and steady baseline level or equilibrium before blood is drawn.
The values recorded from this testing are taken in a consistent manner to ensure appropriate baselines are reached and allow for monitoring of biological values.
What questions are asked on the questionnaire?
The questionnaire will be completed by athletes (or if necessary their representative) and asks questions relating to the nature of the training or competition undertaken by the athlete prior to the test, recent exposure the athlete may have had to altitude or simulated altitude (altitude tent, mask, etc.), and if any blood donation or loss was experienced by the athlete in the weeks prior to the test.
Athletes should complete this questionnaire to the best of their knowledge and be aware that providing false or misleading information can result in an anti-doping rule violation.