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Tuesday, September 25, 2012
IOC urged to test athletes earlier

Associated Press

MONTREAL -- The World Anti-Doping Agency wants the IOC to test athletes further ahead of Olympic competitions to catch drug cheats.

A WADA panel that monitored the anti-doping program at the London Olympics suggested Tuesday the IOC adopt its tactics instead of simply conducting more tests. An Olympic-record 5,132 tests were conducted after the athletes village opened and eight athletes were caught.

"It may be useful to consider limiting future increases to overall test numbers in favor of more intelligent testing as far in advance of competition as possible," the WADA-appointed observers said.

The panel's 13-page report said it "expected" the IOC to reanalyze some London samples during the eight-year period they are stored to allow for more precise testing methods to be developed.

The IOC, London organizing committee and UK Anti-Doping were praised overall for their anti-doping program.

The report described a "well prepared workforce who carried out their tasks professionally and competently" and "successfully implemented measures to protect the rights of clean athletes."

Of the eight positive tests, two results were from in-competition samples taken immediately after an event.

Women's shot put winner Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus was the only medalist disqualified, for using the steroid metenolone. Nick Delpopolo of the United States placed seventh in the men's judo 73-kilogram class before being expelled for having traces of marijuana in his urine.

The WADA panel believes there is scope to improve pre-games scrutiny of athletes targeted for testing because they were under suspicion or came from countries with "less robust anti-doping programs."

While organizers had a "comprehensive" plan to select high-risk athletes for testing, their samples should be subject to a "full menu" of analysis for substances such as EPO, growth hormones and insulin, plus blood transfusions, the report said.

The observers also suggested that testing teams sometimes failed to find athletes in "optimal fashion" and needed help finding them more quickly. Olympic teams could perhaps provide lists of athletes' room numbers in the village.

"The capacity to locate athletes in the village during a particular time-frame is essential for good target testing," the nine-member WADA group wrote.

The report noted that the IOC had to resolve disputes between London organizers and international sports federations who sometimes disagreed on athletes chosen for random testing after an event.