Beijing olympics 2008

July 31, 2008

With just over a week to go before the start of the 2008 Olympic Games, China will be seeking to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing drugs scandals that have become a regular feature of sports competitions.

The sheer volume of drug tests will be higher than ever, new technologies are in place and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has promised that the anti-doping regime at the 2008 Games which start next week will be the toughest yet.

Jiang Zhixue, Director of the General Science and Education Department at Chinese Olympic Committee, said at a conference on Wednesday (July 30) that they were taking all measures possible to make sure there was no repeat of previous embarrassments.

Chinese sports officials have repeatedly said they would rather win no gold medals in Beijing than suffer the embarrassment of a single positive test. But the country’s own record shows both the progress and failures in the fight against doping.

The number of domestic tests in China has risen hugely from 165 in 1990 to 10,238 last year, according to China’s Olympic Committee.

It has also tightened regulations following a series of scandals in the 1990s that marred the reputation of its athletes.

Zhao Jian, Deputy Director for the Chinese National Anti-doping Agency, explained the comprehensive system for testing Chinese athletes.

When the curtain closes on Beijing some 4,500 tests will have been conducted, a 25 percent increase on Athens, with the top five athletes and two random finishers in every competition undergoing tests.

For the first time, kits will be available to test for the banned human growth hormone (HGH) and under an IOC regulation passed in June, anyone found guilty of a serious doping infraction will miss out on the 2012 Games in London.

Wu Moutian, Deputy Director of China Anti-doping Agency, said China had received praise from the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) for its high-standards in it’s testing for HGH in Chinese athletes.

WADA rules mete out a two-year ban for a first offence and a life ban on the second. But China has recently enacted punishment guidelines that are far tougher than the WADA code, handing out life bans for athletes and their coaches for positive drug tests.

In the last month it has banned two athletes for life for doping — top backstroke swimmer Ouyang Kunpeng and wrestler Luo Meng, along with their coaches.


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