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New dope test method aids Beijing in hosting clean Olympics
16:40, August 01, 2008

A new Olympic doping test method, along with other stringent anti-doping measures, will help Beijing host a clean Olympics, according to a Chinese anti-doping officials.

"The new test kits will track the use of human growth hormone (HGH), a substance that boosts strength and speeds recovery, beyond 48 hours," said Wu Moutian, deputy director of the Chinese Anti-doping Agency.

The new HGH test methods have been improved from the old ones used in previous Games, Wu said, but he refused to disclose the exact tracking period, citing that the information could be used to time the use of the drug.

The HGH test method has been approved by the International Olympic Committee. It was certified by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) in July, Wu said.

"The equipments are ready, and the lab staff are well-trained," he said.

The Olympic doping testing period began from July 27 and will run until the Games end.

A total of 4,500 doping controls, including 900 blood tests, are planned in Beijing, about 25 percent rise from those in Athens which produced 26 doping cases.

Forty-one doping control centers are planned for the upcoming Games, with 34 in Beijing. The top five in the events and two randomly-selected athletes will be tested for banned substances like steroids and blood-boosters.

At least one IOC medical representative, a WADA observer and a representative of the sports federations are present at each center when the athletes are tested.

"A clean Games doesn't mean there will be no drug use, but we will make sure that the rule-breakers are discovered," said Chen Zhiyu, an anti-doping official in the Games organizing committee.

"We have strict regulations and standards in accordance with IOC rules, and we have been improving our work to form an impeccable chain of security," he said.

At each center, urine samples are placed in two different containers. Once sealed, they can only be opened in the lab, so chances of swapping the samples will be minimized, said Chen.

Mirrors are placed on bathroom walls and those tested will be asked to roll up their sleeves to prevent cheats, he added.

All collected specimen are marked, put into suitcases and taken by guarded vehicles to a laboratory near the main Olympic venues. The whole process is closely watched.

"We also try not to make the athletes feel overburdened by the tests," he said, "those whose events are scheduled late in the day can take their tests back in the residential village, rather than in the competition venues, so that they can directly go back to rest," Chen said.

John Fahey, the WADA president, said preparation has been sound to make the Beijing Games a clean one.

"Doping cheats are more likely to be caught in Beijing than in any other Olympics in its history," he said.

"There have been enormous efforts made by China. They have the resources and a world-class laboratory. I have little doubt that they will make real efforts as they had in recent months in the preparation," said Fahey, according to a video clip on the WADA website.


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