Drug agency targets coaches and medics
Fri, 27 Jul 2012 6:03p.m.
By Mike McRoberts
The Kiwi who heads the body in charge of catching drug cheats at the Olympics says there'll be more testing than ever before, and the net will spread even wider to catch the coaches and medics.
But World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)'s director general David Howman says even though the system is more robust than ever it won't stop the dopers from trying to cheat the system.
One hundred and seven drug cheats have been caught in just the past six months, and yesterday Greek high jumper Dimitris Chondrokoukis became the latest casualty, pulling out after a positive test.
More than 6,000 samples will be analysed at these Olympics, and for the first time in a summer games it is not just the athletes who will be targetted.
“You're going to get the odd rotten apple in the barrel, sometimes cajoled or persuaded by the people around them, you know, so it's not just necessarily the athletes; it'll be the athlete’s doctor or chemist or coach or whatever who sort of entices them into making that shortcut,” says Mr Howman.
Today retired Chinese Olympic doctor Xue Yinxian told an Australian paper Chinese athletes were systematically doped as recently as the 1990s.
So now WADA is harnessing the powers of other agencies.
“I guess the major difference is that they're going to use information that for instance we get through Interpol or customs that might indicate something suspicious going on with an athlete or a team so they can do testing with that information, that's the extra bit that they can use,” says Mr Howman.
And to beat those on previously undetectable drugs, WADA keeps samples for eight years, something Mr Howman hopes will make athletes think twice.
“They've just done a retesting of samples from Athens and they've found some positive cases, so it does act as a deterrent we hope - it certainly shows the athlete who has cheated, you've got to wait a long time before you think you're home free.”
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