Though rarely an issue at junior level, the principles of anti-doping apply to all orienteers in Ireland, not only those on our national squads. The use of performance-enhancing drugs goes against the “Spirit of Orienteering” – the ethical foundations of fair play and respect for others that underpin orienteering in Ireland. Doping is unethical, unacceptable, and will never be a tolerated behavior within the Irish Orienteering Association.

Juniors competing at JWOC, and in some cases at EYOC, are liable to be tested during the competition, but not liable for out-of-competition tests.

This is a very serious area, if in any doubt get advice. The IOA have a dedicated Anti-Doping Officer, and all the rules and information related to this topic can be found at

Generally, there 3 main ways you might take drugs/substances banned in orienteering.

  • Deliberately to improve performance

  • Accidentally, by taking medicines or diet supplements which contain banned substances.

  • In medication that the athlete needs to take

Deliberately trying to improve performance by taking banned substances.

Don't even think about it - its illegal, its cheating, and the consequences for the individual, the team, and the sport are horrendous – there’s never been a doping incident in orienteering, if a member of the squad was found to using banned substances it would bring Orienteering and Ireland into disrepute, and we would probably lose our funding, and the person would be off the squad.

Accidentally taking banned substances (in supplements for example)

Medicines - Some easily available medicines contain banned drugs (for example cough medicines). Use the Eirpharm website to check the status of any medicine available in Ireland. Elsewhere check the ingredients against the WADA list. Sport Ireland can also help advise on the status of various medications.

Supplements – Some diet supplements contain banned drugs, and don’t have a full list of ingredients so its impossible to check. If you eat a good balanced diet you don’t need supplements.

Required Medication that contains banned substances

Some people may need to take medication which may contain banned substances - the most usual example is asthma medication. Check the Eirpharm website. For many medications you will need either a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) or a Declaration of Use. It is very important to get advice ( from the Junior Squad Manager or the IOA Anti-Doping Officer) if you are on any long-term medication.