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IOC worried by cut in WADA out-of-competition tests

| Tuesday, April 19, 2005

BERLIN -- The IOC and international sports federations are concerned with the sharp decline in out-of-competition drug testing carried out by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Denis Oswald, head of the association of 28 summer Olympic sports, said Monday that WADA reduced its out-of-competition checks by more than half -- from more than 5,000 in 2003 to 2,400 in 2004.

"We were told there are some financial concerns and that WADA has limited means," Oswald said at a joint meeting of the federations and IOC executive board. "We do not share this opinion. We feel there should be priority on out-of-competition tests."

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said he expressed concern about the situation to WADA chief Dick Pound, who explained the agency was spending more on scientific research, education and prevention and had less money for testing.

"There is no lack of good will on the side of WADA, but there is perhaps a little bit of a shortage of funds to do that," Rogge said. "We will see how we can accommodate that. Out-of-competition testing is the cornerstone of the fight against drugs in sport."

Rogge said he will meet with Pound and Oswald in June to try to find a solution.

The IOC runs drug-testing during the Olympics. WADA, which is partially funded by the Olympic movement and national governments, conducts unannounced tests on athletes at their homes or training sites.

The IOC plans to conduct 1,184 drug tests during next year's Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, an increase of about 70 percent over the 700 doping controls at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

Rogge said the IOC would tighten a loophole to ensure that all potential Olympic medalists are tested during the games. Currently, the top four finishers in Olympic finals are tested, plus another athlete at random.

If two or more medalists are disqualified for doping, a fifth-place athlete who wasn't tested could be promoted to the podium.

"We need to avoid a situation where athletes are awarded medals without being tested properly," Rogge said. "We need to expand the number of athletes tested, and we will take this on board."

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