The International Orienteering Federation (and hence SAOF) has agreed to abide by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) anti-doping rules. These rules apply to international and national federations and to each participant in activities of the international or national federation. The rules apply to all participants in events organised by SAOF or an affiliated club. The local arm of WADA is the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) who disseminate information locally and are responsible for obtaining and testing samples from athletes.

All athletes are subject to these rules but given the profile of orienteering and the limited resources of SAIDS, it seems likely that only orienteers selected for major international competitions at elite or age-group level are likely to be tested.  In effect, athletes competing in world ranking events, or selected to compete for South Africa at WOC or JWOC should be considered at risk of in- or out-of-competition testing in South Africa or abroad, but all orienteers and event organisers should be aware of the rules. Out-of-competition testing is usually reserved for individuals who are required to keep SAIDS informed about their whereabouts at all times.

These rules are very strict and an athlete can be found guilty of an anti-doping rule violation for a number of reasons. These include:

  • The presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s specimen
  • The use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or method
  • Refusing or evading sample collection after notification
  • Violation of the requirements regarding athlete availability for out-of-competition testing, including failure to provide required whereabouts information (this can reasonably only be expected of athletes selected for WOC or JWOC)
  • Tampering or attempting to tamper with any part of doping control
  • Possession of prohibited substances or methods unless therapeutic use exemption or other acceptable justification can be provided
  • Trafficking in any prohibited substance or method
  • Administration or attempted administration of a prohibited substance or method

Prohibited substances and methods
The list of prohibited substances and methods is presented under a number of headings, some of these are allowed ‘out’ of competition, although most are not allowed both ‘in’ and ‘out’ of competition.

The groupings (with typical examples of each) are as follows:

  • S1 – stimulants (including amphetamines, modafinil, and a number of over the counter cold and allergy remedies, but not caffeine)
  • S2 – narcotics (including morphine and derivatives)
  • S3 – cannabinoids (marijuana)
  • S4 – anabolic agents (anabolic androgenic steroids & others)
  • S5 – peptide hormones (including erythropoeitin & growth hormone)
  • S6 – β-2 agonists. The short-acting inhaled β-2 agonist, salbutamol (Ventolin®, Asthavent®, Venteze®) is allowed at up to 1600 mg/ 16 puffs per day.  The long-acting inhaled β-2 agonists, formoterol (up to 54 mg per day) and salmeterol (used according to manufacturer’s therapeutic regimen are allowed.
  • S7 – agents with anti-oestrogenic activity (for males only)
  • S8 – masking agents (diuretics, plasma volume expanders)
  • S9 – glucocorticosteroids (except for topical with therapeutic use exemption).  Inhaled corticosteroids are allowed.
  • M1 – enhancement of oxygen transfer (blood doping or erythropoeitin use)
  • M2 – pharmacological, chemical, and physical manipulation (urine substitution etc)
  • M3 – gene doping

All the above categories of substances and methods are prohibited for ‘in’ competition use unless medical approval by the national drug testing authority has been obtained under a therapeutic use exemption.

Categories S4, S5, S6, S7 and S8 and M1, M2 and M3 are prohibited both ‘in’ and ‘out’ of competition, unless therapeutic use exemption has been obtained.

Some sports (but not orienteering) have specifically identified some substances that are prohibited in competition – these include P1 – alcohol; P2 – beta-blockers; P3 – diuretics (no therapeutic use exemption allowed).

Many of these prohibited groupings contain drugs that are widely available over the counter or appropriately prescribed for common conditions such as asthma or hypertension. Many athletes in other disciplines have fallen foul of this and the best advice for at-risk athletes is not to take medication without receiving appropriate clearance or medical advice.

SAIDS has a useful guide on their website ( to aid in deciding whether a particular medication is allowed.

Therapeutic use exemption (TUE)
This applies to approval given to an athlete to use a prohibited substance or method for legitimate, medically justified reasons (e.g. asthma).

National level athletes must apply to SAIDS through the SAOF for a TUE.  International level athletes must apply to the international federation (IOF). Athletes competing in an international event (e.g. WOC) must request a TUE from the IOF at least 21 days before participation, even if they are already in possession of a TUE at national level.

The appropriate forms are available from the WADA or SAIDS websites and all applications are handled with the strictest confidence.

Further details

Further information for athletes and a full listing of prohibited substances is available from the South African Institute for Drug-free Sport (SAIDS)  and the World Anti-Doping Agency.



  • International Orienteering Federation (IOF)

Updated:  July 2016