Ath­letes to be re-tested for dop­ing ahead of Olympics

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Re-test­ing of hun­dreds of ath­letes' sam­ples col­lected at the Lon­don 2012 and Bei­jing 2008 Games is un­der­way as the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) bids to root out cheats ahead of Rio 2016. Dop­ing has over­shad­owed the run-up to the Olympics with scan­dals in­volv­ing the IAAF, the rul­ing body of ath­let­ics, track and field com­peti­tors plus sev­eral coun­tries in­clud­ing Rus­sia and Kenya who could be ex­cluded from the Games.

"The aim of the (re-test­ing) pro­gramme is to pre­vent ath­letes who cheated in Lon­don or Bei­jing, and got away with it be­cause we didn't have as ad­vanced meth­ods of anal­y­sis as we do now, from com­pet­ing in Rio de Janeiro," IOC med­i­cal di­rec­tor Richard Bud­gett told an anti-dop­ing sym­po­sium in Lau­sanne on Tues­day.

"The re­sults will come in a num­ber of weeks or months." Ath­let­ics, the show­piece sport of the Olympics, was rocked last year when Rus­sia was sus­pended from the sport af­ter a World Anti-Dop­ing Agency ( WADA) in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­cov­ered a state­spon­sored dop­ing pro­gramme. Kenya could also be banned if it does not de­liver on prom­ises to WADA. Ten­nis was dragged through the mud last week when for­mer world num­ber one Maria Shara­pova an­nounced she had tested pos­i­tive for the banned sub­stance mel­do­nium.

"We are try­ing pas­sion­ately to pro­tect those clean ath­letes who are go­ing to Rio 2016," Bud­gett said. "The best way to do that is to catch the cheats and de­ter the cheats be­fore we get to Rio de Janeiro." The IOC said it wel­comed a new WADA task force that would gather in­for­ma­tion and in­tel­li­gence and iden­tify ath­letes who should be in­cluded in reg­is­tered test­ing pools, and those that should be tested dur­ing the four-week pe­riod of Rio 2016. Olympic sam­ples are frozen by the IOC for eight years and re-tested us­ing new meth­ods. It also looks for sub­stances that were not known at the time of com­pe­ti­tion.

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