FILA, the international wrestling federation, announced that it will begin to conduct drug testing for international competitors in the sports of Grappling and Pankration.
A story on the FILA website explains the reasons for this decision.
"Grappling and Pankration under FILA have experienced a constant growth over the past few years. In order to further support their growth and make sure the principles of fairplay are applied at all levels, FILA decided to extend its joint efforts with the World Anti-Doping Agency to these two disciplines" according to the story.
FILA will start both systematic drug testing at competition and out-of-competition drug testing for a random pool of 17 international athletes in both sports.
These are the same procedures which Olympic athletes, including Olympic wrestlers, must follow in order to participate at the World and Olympic levels. This testing is conducted under the direction of WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Many consider that a drug testing program is a step forward in the development of these non-Olympic styles.
Grappling is also known as submission wrestling. The United States has won the World Championships in No-Gi Grappling for the last two years. No-Gi means that the athletes compete without a jacket, and the style is very similar to wrestling. The United States was the World Team champion in Gi Grappling in 2009, and placed second in the world in Gi Grappling in 2010. Seven U.S. wrestlers won individual gold medals in Grappling in 2010.
USA Wrestling does not conduct competitions in Pankration.
FILA has encouraged all national organization which conduct competition in the non-Olympic styles to lead campaigns for raising awareness on the dangers of doping and instilling the values of clean sport to all their clubs.