- November 21, 2003 at 2:05 pm #1002RyanKeymaster
More athletes test positive for designer drug
BERLIN (Reuters) – Several athletes who competed in this year’s world championships in Paris have tested positive for the new designer steroid THG, an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) spokesman says.
The scandal sparked by the discovery of the previously undetectable drug sprung back into prominence a day before the start of a two-day IAAF council meeting in Berlin, where the fight against doping will top the agenda.
Retesting on 400 urine samples taken during the Paris championships is not yet complete but with about 75 percent of the results now in, “a very small number” had tested positive for tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG, according to IAAF spokesman Nick Davies on Friday.
A source close to the Berlin meeting said four to five athletes were concerned so far and the number could raise once the results of all the tests are known, which could happen before Saturday.
The precise number of positive tests will be announced on Saturday but no names will be given.
The athletes concerned had either already been tested positive or belonged to a group linked with the BALCO lab, the source added.
The U.S. Anti-Doping agency said BALCO, a firm located south of San Francisco which has many top sportsmen and women among its clients, was probably the source of THG.
Several leading track athletes and baseball players, among them triple Olympic sprint champion Marion Jones and her partner Tim Montgomery, the world 100 metres world record holder, have already testified before a grand jury investigating BALCO. More will follow.
Five athletes, including European 100 metres champion Dwain Chambers of Britain, have tested positive for THG.
The other four have not been officially confirmed but the growing scandal clearly threatens the credibility of the showcase Olympic sport.
“No one can deny that this THG scandal is something new, something terrible,” IAAF president Lamine Diack said before the Berlin meeting.
“It is a conspiracy of cheating which probably also involves organised crime. The IAAF must show strong leadership now and fight back with every available means to protect the integrity and perhaps the future of our sport.”
Possible anti-doping rule changes will be discussed in Berlin. Some member federations believe IAAF should reintroduce harsher penalties and revert to a minimum four-year ban for a major doping offence instead of the two-year suspension which the ruling body moved back to in 1997.
The much criticised anti-doping policy of the United Sates was also likely be discussed in the German capital.
Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), said this week that he wanted the U.S. to be turned into a “sports pariah” unless it took the issue more seriously.
A top United States Olympic official responded on Friday by assuring the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that his country was committed to the fight against drugs.
- November 21, 2003 at 4:35 pm #12664RyanKeymaster
Thg Results Expected
The International Association of Athletic Federations are this weekend expected to name any athletes who tested positive for designer steroid THG at the World Championships this summer.
The IAAF ordered retests of 400 samples taken at the championships after a Los Angeles laboratory managed to identify procedures for detecting tetrahydrogestine (THG).
All three medallists in each event plus others chosen at random were obliged to undergo testing and any positive results are likely to be revealed tomorrow at the IAAF council meeting in Berlin.
Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the IAAF medical commission, said: “We will be able to report the result of the tests I hope, to the council here.
“They’re doing them now in Paris and we’ll get an update on this here. I know a large number have already been done and we’ll get the lump figure once they are ready. They don’t give us the interim figures.”
Asked if he expected any failures, Ljungqvist said: “We will know that, but I don’t expect many. I think we will have a report, possibly on A positives, hopefully for this council meeting.”
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