The ITA has launched its new International Doping Control Officer training programme ©ITA

The International Testing Agency (ITA) has launched its new International Doping Control Officer (IDCO) training programme.

The training and certification programme aims to offer athletes around the world the guarantee that the doping controls they are subject to are conducted safely, respectfully and with trained professionals, in accordance with international best practice.

It also aims to eradicate any disparity in the quality of how doping controls are conducted globally, by providing an internationally recognised professional qualification.

ITA-certified IDCOs will be trained experts and able to deliver testing programmes out-of-competition and at international sporting events such as the Olympic Games, the organisation said.

The programme combines online learning with face-to-face training, building on existing training delivered by national anti-doping organisations.

"This is a memorable day for the ITA as we launch this programme that will offer athletes increased quality and safety during the testing process they are subject to," said ITA director general Benjamin Cohen. 

"We are very excited to launch this project and look forward to continuously offering athletes the best possible experience when they are notified for a doping control."

Swiss company Berlinger, which manufacturers sample collection containers, is the official partner of the training programme. 

The partnership with Berlinger allows the ITA to deliver the training programme for free to doping control officers around the world, it is claimed.

"We are proud to be the partner of the ITA IDCO training programme," said Berlinger Special AG President and owner Andrea Berlinger.

"As manufacturers of tamper-evident safety containers, we endorse initiatives like this one to ensure samples are consistently collected to high-quality standards around the world. 

"We wish the ITA every success in implementing this important initiative and we hope, at this point, that all new ITA-Certified IDCOs will be filled with enthusiasm and passion as they carry out their extremely important work at the initial point of sample collection."

The ITA will start delivering the online training this year.

Dates for face-to-face training will be confirmed as soon as possible, with the coronavirus pandemic and connected travel restrictions delaying the announcement.