Anti-doping organizations (ADO) worldwide are ramping up testing as the Tokyo Olympics approach despite complications posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the World Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday. “As announced in May, the overall number of samples collected by ADOs around the world is quickly going up despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” the global doping watchdog said in a statement. Figures released Wednesday showed that 24,430 samples were collected in May 2021 by 152 anti-doping organizations, the highest number of samples collected since the pandemic started in March 2020, WADA said. WADA said that even though restrictions on travel and face-to-face contact remain in place in parts of the world “out-of-competition testing is now at a level greater than for the same period in 2019”. In April of 2021, WADA said, 14,560 out-of-competition tests were carried out compared to 12,713 in April of 2019. In April of 2020, only 569 such tests were carried out as anti-Covid lockdowns bit hard. In May, the number went up to 16,149, compared to 13,691 for the same month in 2019 and was the highest number of out-of-competition samples collected over the past 29 months. In-competition testing figures for May 2021 were also the highest in the past 15 months with 8,281 samples collected from events and competitions. “The rise of testing numbers around the world represents a significant effort on the part of Anti-Doping Organizations in light of the ongoing pandemic,” WADA director general Olivier Niggli said. He urged anti-doping organizations to do all they can to ensure that all athletes bound for Tokyo have been properly tested. The drop in testing amid pandemic lockdowns has sparked fears that drug cheats who might otherwise have been caught will make their way to Tokyo. “Definitely concerning, especially with Covid,” US swimmer Lilly King said this week at the US Olympic swimming trials, where she locked up a chance to defend the 100m breaststroke gold she won in Rio. “I would definitely say that some of the countries that have not been as trusted are probably taking advantage of the time that they had without testing,” King said.