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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 7, 2010

Olympics: WADA recommends more EPO testing at Winter Games

Associated Press

LONDON The World Anti-Doping Agency has recommended an increase in EPO tests among higher-risk sports at future Winter Olympics.

WADA experts who monitored drug testing at the Vancouver Games in February said the IOC should cut back on tests in curling and expand EPO checks in endurance events such as biathlon and long-track speedskating.

"Conducting tests during every round of a curling event may be unnecessary," the WADA observers said in a report issued Thursday. "Some of these tests may be better used as target tests for other higher-risk sports."

EPO is a blood-boosting drug which is considered the doping substance of choice in endurance sports.

WADA said all samples in high-risk sports both in-competition and out-of-competition should be tested for EPO.

While all urine samples collected in cross-country skiing and Nordic combined were analyzed for EPO in Vancouver, only half the samples in other "medium risk" sports such as biathlon and speedskating were tested for the drug, WADA said.

"In sports such as these it may be advisable to increase the number of EPO analysis," the report said.

The WADA report, which generally praised the doping-control program at the games, was issued ahead of weekend meetings in Montreal of WADA's executive committee and foundation board.

Among the issues on the agenda are a review of the requirement for athletes to specify their whereabouts for drug testing, a proposal to allow non-WADA accredited laboratories to conduct blood tests for the body's biological passport program, and an update on Interpol's efforts to crack down on doping trafficking networks.

"Even in Europe, there are not enough countries with laws in place to allow (Interpol) to do the work that they want to do," WADA director general David Howman said. "The underground is making vast amounts of money out of this and it's all linked to other issues like bribery, corruption, betting and so on. It's a bit of a money-laundering exercise."