London Olympics: Drug cheats are set to face world’s most advanced anti-doping
ATHLETES considering the use of performance-enhancing drugs at London 2012 have been warned they will be confronted by the most advanced and comprehensive anti-doping procedures in Olympic history.
Professor David Cowan, the Games’ chief drugs scientist, revealed on Thursday night that this summer’s Olympics will feature around 5,000 separate urine and blood samples – eclipsing the previous high of 4,770 at the Beijing Games in 2008 – and another 1,250 at the Paralympics. As well as the random sampling, all Olympic medallists will be tested as a matter of routine.
It is understood that Human Growth Hormone testing will be particularly sensitive in London. Currently, HGH can only be detected if it has been used a few days prior to the test; this summer, advancements in bio-marker technology mean it will show up even if the abuse took place weeks before the test.
Cowan admits it will be impossible to guarantee a “drug-free” Games, but is confident that none of the previous competitions will be able to match London for the vigour and scope of the dope testing.
“The testing for these Games has the benefit of four more years of advancement in science, newer equipment, and new technology that makes the detection super-fast,” said Cowan, the director of King’s College drug control centre, which will run the Olympic drug testing programme.
“Part of that is the extended windows of detection, but we can also test for more and more substances while still using small amounts of urine so that the imposition on the athletes is minimised.