Summary of October 2023 AIDA Assembly Meeting

Published: 06/11/2023

On 27 October 2023, AIDA hosted a meeting to discuss necessary anti-doping procedures pertaining to AIDA competitions.

The meeting included the AIDA Board, Sports Officer, Education Officer, members of the Safety Committee, 27 AIDA Nationals and representatives from Clean Game.

Clean Game is an independent anti-doping organization recognized by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). They were hired to assess AIDA’s approach to anti-doping and provide insight on how to improve the anti-doping strategy in the face of new potential challenges that come with the development of the sport.

Since its conception in 1992, AIDA has had strict anti-doping policies (see AIDA Rules & Regulations 13.1) and remains dedicated to the safety and integrity of freediving competitions. AIDA’s current anti-doping rules are based on WADA’s policies. AIDA is committed to implementing WADA procedures into the AIDA Rules & Regulations and open process to become an official WADA signatory. To start, AIDA is planning to certify the first AIDA Doping Officers by the end of the year and introduce online anti-doping education for athletes, specifically relevant to freediving.

As there has been a lot of speculation regarding potential doping in freediving competitions over the last few months, AIDA has engaged Clean Game to assess the situation and advise about the proper administration of alleged doping offences.

As an immediate precaution, the doping testing budget was increased to allow for double the number of doping tests during competitions and the possibility of testing a broader spectrum of prohibited substances.

Regarding the ban of substances that are not currently on the official WADA list of prohibited substances, Prof. Dr. Nenad Dikic, President of Clean Game, announced that adding new substances to an official ban list must follow scientific methods regarding their effects on health and performance, including the methods and protocols for testing and detection.

During the discussion, AIDA Nationals also noted that, despite the discourse online during the recent AIDA Depth World Championship Limassol 2023, the participating athletes reported flawless organization and safety procedures. The experienced AIDA Safety & Medical team and Judges also strictly followed the AIDA Competition Rules and Regulations throughout the competition and all decisions were based on objective and measurable medical parameters

Understandably, as the sport continues evolving and athletes push the limits more than ever, AIDA is committed to devising stricter competition rules. The rules are regularly revised to handle new challenges and are highly detailed regarding blackouts and lung squeezes (see AIDA Rules & Regulations article 5.2.4 and 5.2.5). Currently, AIDA Medical & Science Committee, Dr. Juan Valdivia and Jeroen Van Haudt of the AIDA Safety Committee are reviewing the existing AIDA Rules & Regulations to propose any changes necessary to further empower the medical team, the organizers, and the judges by the end of the year. 

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