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WADA Update

August 12, 2006 – WADA chairman Dick Pound recently warned all athletes to “get organized” if they are to avoid being banned for repeatedly missing out-of-competition drugs tests. Pound was responding to the recent suspension by UK Athletics of Christine Ohuruogu, Commonwealth 400 metres champion, after she missed three out-of-competition drug tests in the space of 18 months. If she is found guilty of an anti-doping violation she could face a two-year suspension. “You know as a professional athlete that doping controls are a very important part of making your sport fair, not only for you but for everybody else, and it’s part of your responsibility to tell your federation where you are, and to be where you say you’re going to be,” said Pound.

Sports Movement and Governments

Earlier this week WADA also urged the Sport Movement and Governments of the world to build on progress to date in the fight against doping in sport and to intensify their momentum through increased coordination activities. The recent rash of high-profile doping cases and investigations in various sports and countries underscores that fact that no sport, nor country, is immune.

“It is significant that the Sports Movement understands the necessity of partnering with Governments in this battle,” said Pound. “WADA’s role is to ensure that Sport and Government meet their respective responsibilities so that this partnership works, and the Agency’s efforts in this respect, since its creation in 1999, have been quite remarkable.”

Governments are expected to move forward with individual ratifications of the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport (UNESCO Convention) so that domestic policies worldwide can be aligned with the Code. This first universal treaty to address doping in sport was unanimously adopted by the UNESCO General Conference on October 19, 2005. Thirty individual ratifications are needed for the treaty to enter into force, and so far, fifteen have been received.

US Olympic Bids Affected?

According to a recent Reuters report WADA’s Pound said he does not believe high-profile positive drug tests by Americans Floyd Landis and Justin Gatlin would hinder future US Olympic Games bids. Both Tour de France winner Landis and Olympic 100 metres champion Gatlin have tested positive for testosterone at a time when the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) is considering whether to bid for the 2016 Summer Games.

“If you eliminated all countries where there were athletes getting positive tests, you would not have the Games anywhere,” Pound told Reuters. Pound, an IOC (International Olympic Committee) member as well and often a critic of U.S. anti-doping efforts, said he did not think the recent positive tests would negatively affect how Olympic committee members view a U.S. bid. Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles are finalists for any potential U.S. bid for the 2016 Games.

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