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|August 28, 2000||
IOC approves EPO testSteve Keating
A test for detecting EPO, one of the most prevalent performance-enhancing drugs, was approved by the International Olympic Committee on Monday, clearing the way for its use at the Sydney Games.
The combined blood-urine test, developed by Australian and French laboratories, obtained the go-ahead from an IOC panel of scientists and doping experts earlier this month and was backed by the IOC's Juridical commission on Sunday.
It was rubber-stamped by the IOC executive board at a meeting on Monday.
"This is a major breakthrough," said IOC vice-president Jacques Rogge. "EPO is one of the most abused drugs and we have worked hard for a test.
"This is our reward and this is a very fine day for us."
The IOC plans to conduct between 300 and 700 tests for EPO (erythropoietin), depending on the laboratory capabilities, starting on September 2 when competitors begin to move into the athletes' village in Sydney ahead of the Games' opening on September 15.
Athletes will be subjected to urine and blood tests, both of which must prove positive before sanctions are threatened. Athletes who refuse blood testing will be considered to have tested positive.
Apart from the EPO tests, the IOC said it will conduct 400 out of competition test on athletes as soon as they enter Australia and that there will be another 2,000 tests conducted during competition.
"The message is very clear," said IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch. "This is a new fight against doping.
"EPO is now solved. Now maybe in the next months we will find a test for human growth hormone."
The IOC said it fully expected legal challenges to the tests from athletes caught positive.
"Of course there will be legal challenges, we expect this," said Rogge. "But we expect the scientific validation we have and the legal study we've done will convince any judge of our rights.
"There will be a total of 3,000 tests for 10,000 athletes, there is no other competition in the world where you have such a number of tests."
Finding a dependable test for EPO, which stimulates the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells, has long been a top priority for the IOC.
The drug, originally developed to help fight kidney disease, has become increasingly popular among endurance athletes such as cyclists, long-distance runners and swimmers.
FOUR CITIES CHOSEN
On Monday the executive board also whittled down the list of cities who can bid to host the 2008 Olympics to five - Beijing, Toronto, Osaka, Paris and Istanbul.
Istanbul was included by the executive board after the other four were recommended in a report on the individual cities' ability to host the Games.
Bangkok, Havana, Seville, Kuala Lumpur and Cairo failed to make the next stage of the bidding process.
"The quality of the four recommended by the specialists committee were very good and not easy to separate," said vice-president Kevan Gosper.
"And the inclusion of Istanbul was essentially because they were so close to the line and had bid before. There was a majority view we should include them as well."
The cull was part of the IOC's reforms to the bidding process brought about by the corruption scandals surrounding Salt Lake City's successful bid to stage the 2002 Winter Games.
The winning bid is scheduled to be announced next July at the IOC congress in Moscow.
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