April 17, 2018 / 2:35 PM / 5 days ago

Doping - UK anti-doping agency plans 50 percent more tests to 2022

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s anti-doping agency (UKAD) said on Tuesday it was aiming for a 50 percent increase in publicly-funded testing over the next four years.

Presenting a strategic plan for 2018-22, UK Anti-Doping chair Trevor Pearce said the challenges were “as acute as they have ever been” but extra government cash would allow more to be done.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch announced last January that UKAD would receive an extra six million pounds ($8.59 million) over the next two years.

“The additional funding... has enabled us to be more bold and ambitious in our planning, expanding our investment into new and innovative approaches,” said Pearce.

The next four year period covers the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the run-up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

UKAD said it had completed more tests than ever in 2017-18, with a 12 percent increase on the previous year.

“We also want to renew our approach to encourage and enable people to come forward with their suspicions and information about doping activity,” UKAD said in the plan.

“As we have seen in an international context this can be a game changer.”

Whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov, a former employee of the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, helped expose massive doping problems in Russia in 2014 with his athlete wife Yulia Stepanova.

UKAD said nearly half of all anti-doping rule violations in the last two years had originated from intelligence reports.

The body said it also wanted to increase the number of investigations into people who work with athletes.

($1 = 0.6985 pounds)

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge

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