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SBD Global/November 14, 2013/Olympics

New IOC President Calls For More Doping Tests Ahead Of 2014 Sochi Olympics

IOC President Thomas Bach is out to rid the Sochi Games of doping.
IOC President Thomas Bach said that tests for banned substances "will be more stringent than ever" for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to the AFP. Athletes will undergo 1,269 pre-competition tests -- more than 400 more than the Vancouver games -- while total tests will increase by almost 300 to 2,453. At the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg, Bach said, "We shall be smarter and tougher in our fight against doping than at any previous Olympic Winter Games." Bach "supported more stringent bans for athletes caught doping." Bach: "What we need is the greatest possible deterrents. I strongly argued for a lifetime ban, even for a first doping offence." Global sports leaders will "ratify the new code that doubles bans for intentional doping culprits from two to four years" this week (AFP, 11/14). The BBC reported Bach said that Jamaica and Kenya "risk being banned from future Olympic Games if their drugs testing programmes fail to come up to scratch." Both nations' testing "is being examined" by WADA. Bach: "The WADA code is very clear. Countries which are not compliant can be excluded from events including the Olympic Games." Bach said that the IOC "would not shy away from acting" if WADA found either nation were "non-compliant." He added, "We can only sanction if we have a non-compliance declaration by WADA" (BBC, 11/13). The AP's Gerald Imray reported Bach "opposes any lessening of Lance Armstrong's lifetime doping ban." Bach said any appeals for leniency by the disgraced American rider are "too little, too late." After urging WADA to "introduce tougher punishments for drug cheats," Bach said Armstrong has not made a "real admission" and his ban should not be reviewed. Bach: "Now trying to bargain a deal there after everything has been proven, and now that he realises he doesn't just get off the hook -- this is not the best way to lessen a sanction or to be lenient there in any way" (AP, 11/13).

RALLYING THE TROOPS: REUTERS' Mark Gleeson reported Bach said that new testing methods "are required to strengthen the fight against doping in sport." Bach also "compared drug cheating to terrorism." Bach: "We need even more specifically targeted tests and more scientific research. We have to focus on more anti-doping research. In this area we should be open to new ways of thinking." Bach said that "concerns over costs should not stop more investment in anti-doping measures." Bach: "We should not argue that one positive test costs several hundred thousand dollars. That would be like saying a terrorist attack at an airport costs us so many millions of dollars because the fight against doping is like security measures and it is also about deterrents and prevention. Our security measures and so our tests must be improved still more" (REUTERS, 11/13).

KENYA'S PROBLEM: REUTERS reported Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha "has urged Kenya’s athletics chiefs to root out doping cheats as swiftly as possible or risk damaging the country’s reputation for churning out running greats." Kenya "has begun to acknowledge a drugs problem that has cast a shadow over one of the most successful running nations at a time athletics is reeling from high profile doping scandals." Rudisha: "It is bad. The faster they tackle the matter the better for our country’s image" (REUTERS, 11/13).
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