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October 16/02 1:02 am - Doping in the News


Posted by Editor on 10/16/02
 

Doping Stories in the Press

The CCES (Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport) forwards us stories involving doping. We on occasion reprint ones of interest to the cycling community.

Cycling chief Verbruggen to stay at WADA until new code approved

ZOLDER, Belgium -- International Cycling Union chief Hein Verbruggen said Saturday he will continue working for the World Anti-Doping Agency until a new code is approved next year, postponing earlier plans to resign from the agency.

WADA approved early this month a second draft of its proposed universal anti-doping code but Verbruggen complained more changes were needed before the code could be approved at a special anti-doping summit in Copenhagen next March. "There is a lot of work to do," he said. Verbruggen threatened to resign this summer, complaining cycling was unfairly singled out by WADA for criticism.

He said Saturday he still planned to step down after the code has been approved because his busy schedule as UCI president and his commitments as IOC member no longer allow him to spend sufficient time at WADA.

He denied he had any personal problems with WADA chief Dick Pound, adding he had dinner with the Canadian only last week.

Verbruggen has been a member of WADA's executive committee since it was founded in 1999.

The agency coordinates international drug testing and tries to ensure that tests are carried out evenly across all sports and countries.


British Skier Loses Olympic Appeal

LONDON (AP) -- British skier Alain Baxter failed in his bid to win back the Olympic bronze medal that was stripped from him after testing positive for a banned substance.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, which held a two-day hearing on the case last month, rejected Baxter's appeal Tuesday.

Baxter, the first British skier to win an Olympic medal, tested positive for the banned stimulant methamphetamine after finishing third in the men's slalom at Salt Lake City last February.

The International Olympic Committee found Baxter guilty of a doping offense, disqualified him and revoked his medal.

Baxter, a 28-year-old Scot, contended the positive test resulted from his use of an over-the-counter nasal decongestant (note: it was a Vicks spray) which, he said, had no performance-enhancing benefits.

Baxter maintained that, unlike the British product which had been cleared by his medical advisers, the version he bought in the United States contained a mild form of methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine, also known as "speed," is a powerful nervous-system stimulant.

Under the IOC's strict liability rule, athletes are deemed responsible for any banned substance found in their body, regardless of the circumstances.

"The panel is not without sympathy for Mr. Baxter, who appears to be a sincere and honest man who did not intend to obtain a competitive advantage in the race," the arbitration panel said.

Baxter's appeal was heard by a three-member arbitration panel in London on Sept. 5-6.

Baxter and the British Olympic Association wanted the IOC to carry out a second test in order to support their claim that the methamphetamine found in his sample was not performance-enhancing. The IOC refused, saying it doesn't distinguish between the different forms of the stimulant.

The arbitrators upheld the IOC position that Baxter should be disqualified "whether or not the ingestion of that substance was intentional or negligent and whether or not the substance in fact had any competitive effect."

The British Olympic expressed disappointment at the arbitration ruling.

"Alain has paid a most severe penalty for a modest mistake and it is clear that the principle of strict liability underscored this decision," BOA chief executive Simon Clegg said.

In its updated list of banned substances, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, the IOC states that both forms of methamphetamine are prohibited.

Baxter was one of three athletes stripped of medals for doping violations at the Salt Lake City Games.

Cross-country skiers Johann Muehlegg of Spain and Larissa Lazutina of Russia were stripped of gold medals after positive tests for an endurance-boosting drug. They have also filed appeals with the arbitration court.

Sunday Times (South Africa)

October 13, 2002

More test positive as anti-doping programme hots up
by Clinton Van Der Berg

A RECORD number of 33 South African sports people tested positive for doping offences in the past year.

According to figures released in the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport's annual report, numbers are up on positive dope tests - there were 27 in the previous period - but levels of testing have also increased.

An average of 1.88% of people tested in 47 sports codes were positive, in line with the international average. Powerlifting remains the most frequent transgressor, with nine positives, followed by cycling (seven), rugby (three) and weightlifting (two). The strong anti-doping drive in athletics has clearly had an impact, with just a single positive compared to half a dozen last year. Rugby conducted the most tests (275), followed by athletics (227) and cycling (144). Interestingly, a tug-of-war participant failed a doping test, as did a representative from each of judo, boxing, hockey, handball and shooting.

Recent claims of drug use in football aren't supported by the report. There was just a single positive - for the stimulant ephedrine. Marijuana is not tested for because it is not considered performance-enhancing.

Daphne Bradbury, GM of the Institute, explained that publication of the positive tests was intended as a deterrent. "The number of positive tests has increased but that's because our testing programme has increased. The steroid Nandrolone is still very popular, together with stanozolol.

"We don't know where people get them from, but we're surprised because supplying and using steroids carries such heavy penalties."

Bradbury believes sports people are sourcing steroids over the Internet, although doctors remain the first port of call. She also claims there is an increase in drug abuse in school rugby.

"Our challenge is trying to keep up. If we don't, we'll continue to battle."

At the Comrades this year, for the first time, the institute carried out testing for EPO - a hormone that regulates the production of red blood cells to enhance the body's oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. Although there were no positive returns, Bradbury says there were a few withdrawals shortly before the race.

Of the 33 positive returns by SA sports people, 22 were considered severe doping infractions. Typically, the rest tested positive for diuretics and stimulants and these weren't sanctioned by their controlling bodies.

The two exceptions were a mountain biker and rower who tested positive for an anabolic agent (testosterone), but whose levels were later found to be within acceptable limits, occurring naturally.

Warnings were issued in handball and equestrianism where ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, ingredients in flu remedies, were often used.

The heaviest penalties came in powerlifting and weightlifting where two-year bans were imposed as a matter of course.

 


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