The World Karate Federation (WKF) has joined forces with the SportAccord Doping-Free Sport Unit (DFSU) as the international governing body aims to increase its level of anti-doping activities following the sport’s inclusion on the programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The DFSU acts as a central point for SportAccord members and contributes to synergies and the sharing of knowledge among members.
Among the actions that are being implemented by the WKF is the raising of the number of Registered Testing Pool (RTP) athletes by 50 per cent, so to reach maximum coverage in 2019 and 2020.
The tally of in and out-of-competition tests has also said to have been expanded, while a focus on top athletes and competitors that the WKF describes as being "at risk" has been made a main priority.
It is claimed special attention was paid to the months preceding the 2016 Karate World Championships, which were held in Austrian city Linz.
The WKF says it is upping its anti-doping activities "in an effort to further expand the purity of the sport".
"While honour and integrity are intrinsic elements of the nature of this ancient discipline, karate's international governing body pledges to respond to the doping global threat by ensuring a fully clean sport," a statement reads.
The WKF has also spoken of the "crucial role" that its Athlete Passport Management Unit plays in ensuring that all the right criteria for clean competitions are met.
"The WKF Athlete Passport Management Unit has been active since 2014 and is essential in the analysis of athletes' biological passports and in the creation of smart test distribution plans," the statement adds.
"Out of all the steroidal passport notifications which were received in 2016, only 18 per cent triggered an atypical passport finding."
In addition to control and analysis, the project established by the WKF includes support to both youth and senior competitors through the organisation of educational anti-doping seminars at its leading events.
These educational actions aim at preventing doping issues by using the power of information, the distribution of knowledge and open discussions.
One of the many informational activities during last year occurred at the Karate World Championships in Linz, where national team coaches and staff members attended an anti-doping seminar organised by the SportAccord Doping-Free Sport Unit as part of the WKF’s continuous training process for coaches.
An outreach educational booth was set up during the event to support athletes in understanding the general risks of doping, while instructing competitors on WKF anti-doping regulations.
"The participation of the Austrian National Anti-Doping Organisation was essential in the success of the educational programme developed in Linz for the first-class karate event," the WKF says.
"As a result of this effort, no adverse analytical findings were recorded on tests for which the WKF was either the testing or the result management authority in 2016."
WKF Anti-Doping Rules are in line with the revised World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, which came into effect on January 1, 2015.
In February of that year, WKF Medical Commission chair Rafael Arriaza welcomed the new WADA Code.
Under the Code, there is an obligation to provide anti-doping education and information to athletes and their support staff, which focus on "values" and the ethical reasons not to dope.