Heat is on drug cheats

BEIJING: A two-time Olympian and anti-doping expert said yesterday drug cheats such as fallen US idol Marion Jones who had got away with it in the past would be caught at the Beijing Olympics. Multiple gold medallist Jones fooled the doping control system at the 2000 Sydney Olympics only to admit later that she used performance-enhancing drugs. “Today the message which is sent by the actors involved in anti-doping is really very strong,” said Guillaume Jeannet, a Beijing-based French lawyer and former international rower. “Even if you are Marion Jones, you may not get away with it.” The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Dick Pound, has said that Beijing would be the cleanest Olympics in history. “That will hold true even if more drug cheats were actually exposed than ever before,” said Jeannet, who competed in Sydney and at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. “The more we will have positive tests … the more we will have evidence that the doping control process is effective,” said Jeannet, who is a consultant on anti-doping for the sports law department of his French international law firm. At the 1980 Moscow Olympics, only one athlete was caught cheating at a time when institutionalised doping was rife. In the 2004 Athens Games, one year after WADA’s anti-doping code was implemented, 24 athletes were caught, he said. “That’s strong evidence that today anti-doping control is more effective,” he said. Beijing’s anti-doping centre, one of only 33 in the world approved by WADA, will conduct tests on nearly half the 11,000 Olympic competitors at a rate of 230-240 tests a day during the Games, which is 25% more than at Athens and nearly double the number in Sydney. “That’s a minimum. It could be more,” said Jeannet.  China has adopted a “zero-tolerance” policy on doping, according to the sports ministry, and has pledged to test all athletes prior to the Games. Last year 15 positive cases were found from 10,238 tests carried out in China the lowest rate since testing began in 1990. – AFP 

~ by missjewelz on January 22, 2008.

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