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Wednesday, 22 March, 2000, 10:00 GMT
Drugs chief announces clampdown
drugs_graphic
An extra 2,500 athletes will now be tested
The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has announced a widespread drug-testing programme, ahead of the Sydney Olympics.

According to Wada chairman and International Olympic vice-president Dick Pound, 2500 extra athletes will be tested on top of the ongoing programmes already carried out by international federations.



With the full support and backing from governments we can have unified sanctions.

Wada chairman Dick Pound
"I am hoping the first tests can begin as early as May," Pound said.

The warning came as Wada prepared to finalise the details of the programme at a meeting in Switzerland.

Pound admitted that hopes of having a unified sanction against athletes caught taking drugs cannot be achieved without government help.

Both Fifa, football's governing world body, and cycling have objected to an automatic two year ban for cheats, fearing a series of massive law suits from athletes.

But Pound is convinced that if the federations can be protected by national laws against legal action then a standard ban can be applied.

"I can understand Fifa being concerned by legal action from overpaid tantrum throwers. But with the full support and backing from governments we can have unified sanctions," he said.

"The IOC will be responsible for testing at the Sydney Olympics but all results of the tests must be passed on to us.

"That way we will ensure that someone does not put the result in their pocket or fail to act on it."

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