Post-Vancouver tests leave cheats no hiding place: IOC

Tue Feb 9, 2010 8:28pm EST
 
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By Karolos Grohmann

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Athletes at the Vancouver Games using performance-boosting substances for which there is so far no test still cannot sleep easily and will be caught by the testers, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.

The IOC will conduct more than 2,100 urine and blood doping tests during the Feb 12-28 Vancouver Olympics.

Anti-doping agencies will develop tests within months after the Games to trace substances like Hematide, a drug still in experimental stage to treat anemia, but widely rumored to be already used illegally by athletes.

"Yes, there are such substances," said IOC medical commission chief Arne Ljungqvist. "We today are informed by the pharmaceutical industry when substances are developed but are not yet on the market.

"There are such substances today.... that may be used by athletes through illegal availability. We are developing methods for such substances. Hematide is one such example," Ljungqvist told reporters.

Ljungqvist said tests for such drugs will be developed in the coming months and samples from Vancouver will be frozen and then be re-tested for that drug.

The IOC froze and re-tested 948 athletes' samples months after the 2008 Beijing Olympics once a test for the blood-boosting CERA substance was ready.

Six athletes tested positive including 1,500m champion Rashid Ramzi from Bahrain, who was subsequently stripped of his gold medal.

"Whether these substances are available or not for illegal use remains to be speculated," Ljungqvist said. "However those athletes should know that we may analyze the samples in one or two years. We are in no hurry," he said.

(Editing by Miles Evans)