New Agency Wants Pros Included in Random Dope Test

New Agency Wants Pros Included in Random Dope Test
Posted by FoM on February 19, 2000 at 14:34:51 PT
By Bill Beacon
Source: Ottawa Citizen
An international anti-doping body recommended Friday that professional athletes undergo the same random drug testing as amateurs if they are to compete at the Olympic Games. If adopted by the World Anti-Doping Agency, pros from leagues like the NHL and NBA, where a variety of substances banned by the IOC is allowed, would have to submit to year-round, out-of-competition testing. 
There is no such testing in the NHL right now but the NBA does check for use of marijuana, steroids, amphetamines, LSD, cocaine and heroin. The proposed plan would also affect tennis pros. "Pro athletes have a choice - if they want to participate in these events, they will have to play by the same rules (as amateurs)," said 1992 Olympic champion swimmer Mark Tewksbury, an observer at a workshop of the government arm of the new anti-doping agency. Athletes who do not submit to tests would be unable to compete in the Olympics and other international events, such as world championships or Pan-American, Commonwealth and Asian Games. There is no word yet on whether NHL players will go to the 2002 Olympics. The recommendations, released as the two-day workshop closed, are to be studied at an agency board meeting March 22 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Their first resolution asked the International Olympic Committee to "adopt an anti-doping policy requirement that relevant international federations, national Olympic committees and professional sports leagues must actively support and participate in the activities and programs of WADA as a pre-requisite for participating in the Olympic Games." It asked the IOC and international sports federations, as well as event organizers, to agree to submit athletes to "unannounced, out of competition testing" as a condition to competing in major events. It also recommended that the pro sports leagues themselves participate in the agency's programs, which are to include random drug testing as well as education and research programs and efforts to stem trafficking in banned substances. An NHL spokesman said the declaration needed to be studied before the league could comment. Random testing - and the proposed standardized suspensions for athletes caught using banned substances - would be a shock to some pro athletes. Some pro hockey players said they used Sudafed, a decongestant that contains a banned stimulant, before games. And roller-hockey goalie Steve Vezina tested positive for the steroid Nandrolone last summer, stripping Canada of its gold medal at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg. The agency, which grew out of an international meeting in Sydney in November, hopes to set and regulate world-wide standards for doping control. It aims to crack down on the rampant use of banned drugs in sport and restore credibility to events, like the Olympics and cycling's Tour de France, battered by doping scandals. Major sports powers like the United States and China back the agency. Among the most passionate speakers at the workshop was Gilles Smadja of the French department of youth and sports. He said that when France cracked down on the use and importation of banned drugs after the 1998 Tour de France debacle "our sports minister received more letters of protest than congratulations. "Two years later, that has changed. The decisions taken today allow us to say there has never before been such commitment from governments around the world to the anti-doping struggle." The Montreal meeting of the International Intergovernmental Consultative Group saw representatives from 32 countries, plus the European Union, select its half of the 34-member drug agency board. Canada will have seats on the board as well as on the drug agency's executive committee. The board's other half has representatives from the IOC, sports federations and athletes. Other recommendations included: - Developing strategies to regulate labelling of food supplements and other products that may contain banned substances. - Identifying legal barriers that may prevent the agency from operating world-wide. - Exchanging information on anti-doping programs and technologies. - Assisting governments to set up national anti-doping programs. - Implementing an equity policy regarding the sexes and people with disabilities. The agency also hopes to have its role as overseer of dope-testing in place for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Montreal (CP) Published: february 19, 2000 The Canadian Press, 2000Copyright 1999 Ottawa Citizen Related Articles:Drug Czar Changes Tune On IOC Testing Begin Discussing Anti-Doping Initiative Drug Testing Archives:
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