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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 13:49 GMT
Drugs chief warns Olympic cheats
By Matt Slater and Simon Austin

Wada president John Fahey
Fahey believes Beijing will have an effective test for growth hormone
The new head of the World Anti-Doping Agency has warned drug cheats that testing at the Beijing Olympics will be more stringent than ever before.

John Fahey, who took up his post on 1 January, has been impressed with work done by the Chinese authorities.

"The chances of getting caught, for those that want to cheat, are greater than ever before," Fahey told BBC Sport in his first interview as Wada chief.

"The tests will be more significant than at any other Olympics."

The Australian added: "They (the Chinese authorities) have done an enormous amount of work, putting in resources in terms of highly-trained personnel and money.

The onus is on each of the countries that send athletes to the Games to go through a rigorous process of ensuring that only the clean athletes get there

John Fahey

"And the laboratory, from what I'm told, is of the highest standards. So the nuts and bolts are there."

Fahey, a former finance minister in the Australian government, said there was also an onus on national governments to ensure they send clean athletes to the Games.

He said: "Will the athletes that come to the Games be clean? I can't say that. But I would ask all countries to send honest and clean athletes.

606: DEBATE

"The onus isn't on Wada, it isn't even on the Chinese authorities, it's on each of the countries that send athletes to the Games to go through a rigorous process of ensuring that only the clean athletes get there, rather than those that seek to cheat.

"Testing isn't the only thing, though obviously testing ultimately leads to many of the cheats being detected and dealt with in the appropriate way.

"It is just as important to ensure that the investigations are smarter than ever before and that through proper investigations your testing is focused on where it can do the most good.

With regard to HGH, it has reached the stage where we can have confidence in the testing

John Fahey

"And that requires a great deal of co-operation with law enforcement agencies in many countries. Some have come a long way, some haven't made much of a move at all."

Fahey says he is confident that a rigorous testing procedure for human growth hormone will be in place in time for the Games.

Peter Sönksen, a leading expert on drugs in sport, told BBC Sport last November that the current test for HGH is "useless".

But Fahey told BBC Sport: "With regard to HGH, it has reached the stage where we can have confidence in the testing.

"There has been a lot of comment about having a kit that is practical and accessible, and that requires those kits being manufactured.

"There have been a few stumbling blocks there - which I needn't detail - but the tests have been validated. And samples have been stored in the past that can be used in the future.

"I think we're a lot further with HGH than many of the commentators have said. We're very confident that by the time of the Olympics in Beijing in August that these kits will be readily available and in a form that nobody can argue can be utilised to achieve outcomes.

"Is this the right test? Are there other ways? We won't ignore any proposal that can be validated.

"Of course, the validation does require the scientists to ensure that it is appropriate, that it works, that it passes all the tests and to ensure that the athlete gets a fair go as well."

SEE ALSO
Drugs chief reveals his manifesto
24 Jan 08 |  Sport Homepage
Conte explains doping loopholes
13 Dec 07 |  Sport Homepage
Drug cheats to face four-year ban
17 Nov 07 |  Other sport...
New anti-doping president elected
17 Nov 07 |  Other sport...
Sotherton voices Beijing concerns
16 Nov 07 |  Athletics
New warning over Olympic doping
15 Nov 07 |  Sport Homepage
How to beat the drugs cheats
15 Nov 07 |  Sport Homepage


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