Olympics: Beijing Games Doping Programme Toughest Yet, Says WADA Chief

SYDNEY : Drug cheats are more likely to be detected at August’s Beijing Olympics than at any other Games previously, World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey said Wednesday.

Fahey, a former Australian politician who helped secure the 2000 Sydney Olympics for his home city, gave a ringing endorsement to Beijing’s anti-doping efforts after visiting a state-of-the art laboratory there this month.

He said more than 1,000 people were involved in the Beijing doping programme, including a mix of Chinese and international officials and numerous “chaperones” to ensure athletes submitted genuine blood and urine samples.

Fahey said the tough regime meant cheats who managed to qualify for August’s Games by taking drugs because they were not picked up by their national sporting bodies were unlikely to escape so easily in Beijing.

“They are at an advanced state of readiness, there is a world-class laboratory there, there are numerous people who have been trained on the ground,” he said.

“So if cheats get there because they’ve got through the barrier of their own country they’re more likely to be caught in Beijing than at any other Olympics.”

He said new tests meant it was no longer true that athletes prepared to cheat could utilise latest scientific advances to stay one step ahead of doping authorities.

“In that battle with the scientists, there’s little doubt that the scientists who are actually working for the white knights are getting better all the time and, I believe, countering those that may be working for the other side,” he said.

One of the advances cited by Fahey included a test that found traces of human growth hormone in athletes’ systems long after they had stopped taking the drug.

He also said bodies such as the International Olympic Committee could now freeze samples taken at the Games for up to eight years to allow for re-testing.

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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