Protecting the Right to Enjoy Doping-Free Sport

What Happens During a Test?


A Doping Control Officer and athlete during a test.

All samples collected in drugs testing are kept within a safe chain of custody and analysed by a WADA-accredited laboratory.

In the UK, King's College London manages the analysis of blood and urine samples.

At your level, you should be familiar with the basic procedures of doping control. They are as follows:


  • Notification of selection for a drugs test
  • Reporting for testing
  • Selecting a collection vessel
  • Providing the sample under supervision
  • Selecting the sampling kit
  • Dividing and sealing the sample
  • Testing the suitability of the sample
  • Recording and certifying the information

Doping Control Personnel

UK Anti-Doping has a network of highly qualified Doping Control Personnel who oversee the doping control process.

When you are required for a drugs test, you will be notified by a Doping Control Officer (DCO) or a Witnessing Chaperone. They will show you their identification and notify you that you have been selected. You will need to report with the Chaperone or DCO to the Doping Control Station. You will be accompanied at all times by the Chaperone or DCO. When you are ready to provide a urine sample the DCO or a Witnessing Chaperone will manage the process and directly observe you whilst you provide your sample.

Sometimes you might be selected to provide a blood sample as well as a urine sample for testing. If you are selected to provide a blood sample, a Blood Collection Officer (BCO) will be in attendance. BCOs are trained and experienced phlebotomists and can carry out the blood-sample collection duties once you have reported to the Doping Control Station.

The Doping Control Officer or Witnessing Chaperone

  • Will be of the same gender as you
  • Will ask to have a clear and unobstructed view of the passing of urine. Therefore they will ask the athlete to remove any clothing that obstructs that view (i.e. shirt pulled to mid-torso, sleeves rolled up and trousers pulled down to mid-thigh).
  • Will not handle the sample-collection vessels or A- and B-bottles before the sample is sealed, unless requested to do so by the athlete for a specific reason.

Athletes' Rights and Responsibilities

From notification for Doping Control, athletes have the right to:

  • see official identification and evidence of the DCO or Witnessing Chaperone's authority to carry out the test from an official anti-doping organisation or testing body
  • be accompanied by a representative of their choice to the Doping Control Station
  • request a delay in reporting to the Doping Control Station for valid reasons (see below)
  • a DCO or Witnessing Chaperone of the same gender to observe the provision of the sample
  • ask for additional information about the sample-collection process
  • comment on the testing procedures for each test taken by the athlete
  • receive a copy of the doping control form after the test has been taken
  • ensure confidentiality: no name should be on any documentation intended for the laboratory
  • request modifications if they are a minor (under 18 years old) or have a disability.

Athletes Have a Responsibility to:

  • remain within direct observation of the DCO/Chaperone at all times from the point of notification by the DCO/Chaperone until the completion of the sample collection procedure
  • produce photographic identification such as competition accreditation or a driver’s licence
  • comply with sample collection procedures
  • report immediately for a test, unless there are valid reasons for a delay (see below).

Delay in Reporting to the Doping Control Station

Following notification, athletes may delay reporting to the Doping Control Station for valid reasons only. These depend on whether the test is in-competition or not.

In-Competition Testing:

  • Participation in an award ceremony
  • Fulfilment of media commitments
  • Competing in further competitions
  • Performing a warm-down
  • Obtaining necessary medical treatment
  • Locating a representative and/or interpreter
  • Obtaining photo identification
  • Any other exceptional circumstances which may be justified and which shall be documented.

Out-of-Competition Testing:

  • Locating a representative
  • Completing a training session
  • Receiving necessary medical treatment
  • Obtaining photo identification
  • Any other exceptional circumstances which can be justified and which shall be documented.