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September 12, 2000
Athletes face pre-race drug testsAdrian Warner
Athletes face out-of-competition drug tests as late as the evening before their events at the Sydney Olympics, a leading anti-doping official said on Monday.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has introduced a new test for the stamina-boosting erythropoietin (EPO) and is also testing competitors for the first time before their events at the Games for other drugs like steroids.
"We do not want to test the athletes on the day (of the start of their events) but we will test athletes up to the evening prior to the day of competition," IOC medical commission chief Patrick Schamasch said.
Medal winners are also usually tested after their competitions and random tests are normally carried out on other athletes who do not finish in the top three.
The IOC, under fire for the last two years over corruption scandals, was applauded last month for approving a combined blood-urine test for EPO in time for the Games starting on Friday.
The drug, which stimulates the production of the red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body, is one of the most dangerous banned performance-enhancing drugs.
But the IOC came under further fire from the Australian media on Monday for not using an EPO test which can detect use further back than five days.
However, Schamasch said: "That is part of life and I accept all kind of criticism. I am very confident with the test that has been put in place. This test is to be an out of competition test. I think the deterrent effect is enough."
Schamasch's announcement on Monday came on the day when Canada's head athletics coach Brent McFarlane said the number of doping tests being conducted before the Games was disrupting his athletes' training.
McFarlane said more than 30 tests had been carried out on the Canadian athletics team since they arrived in Australia.
"Drug testing has been going on non-stop," McFarlane said.
"We walked in the door to our dormitories where we had 21 athletes and 16 were tested.
"Right now they are testing 16 more. Some of our kids were tested before they left Canada. I don't know how many times you can pee in a bottle. I think we are going overboard right now."
Olympic 100 metres champion Donovan Bailey said he had been woken up on the night he arrived in Australia to provide a urine sample.
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