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Monday, 8 May, 2000, 18:37 GMT 19:37 UK
Olympics drugs threat
olympic_graphic
Will testing stop athletes using steroids in Sydney?
By Red Harrison in Sydney

Former Australian Olympic swimming champion Michelle Ford says international authorities are not doing enough to prevent the use of illegal drugs at the Olympic Games in Sydney later this year.

Her call comes as a scientist from one of Australia's leading sporting academies faces charges of importing banned drugs.

John Pryor, a specialist in developing athletic strength and speed, will appear at a court in Sydney on Tuesday.

The police say Mr Pryor ordered a package of anabolic steroids from the United States over the internet.

Intercepted by customs, his parcel was one of nearly 1,000 seized in Australia in the past year containing drugs designed to improve athletic performance.

Michelle Ford says the International Olympic Committee has yet to show it is serious about stopping the drugs cheats.

Tough penalties

Testing procedures are not good enough, she says, and in her view, drugs will be the biggest issue to emerge from the games in Sydney.

Local Olympic authorities and other sporting bodies say they are spending huge amounts on regimes designed to catch cheating athletes off guard, in order to keep the Sydney games clean.

They have introduced random inspections for Olympic competitors on arrival in Australia, and are planning what they say will be a record number of rigorous tests during the games.

The penalty for importing steroids or growth hormones has been increased to about $40,000.

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See also:

07 May 00 | Sport
Olympics suffers ticket mix-up
05 May 00 | Europe
Apology over East German doping
02 May 00 | Europe
German doping trial extended
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