Tests for human growth hormone, which world anti-doping bodies hope to use to trap cheats during the Beijing Olympics, have hit a snag but should be ready by August, says a US official.
"The test for HGH is a blood-based test. There is a kit that goes along with the test, which is necessary for the lab to run the tests once the blood is received," Travis Tygart, head of the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada), told a congressional hearing.
"Those kits, unfortunately, had delayed production ... but our expectation is the kits will be available in the coming weeks. The test is available, it was used in the 2004 Athens games and
2006 Torino games, and all expectations are that it will be used in the 2008 Beijing games," he said.
HGH test makes life difficult for dopers
The World Anti-Doping Agency announced early this month that a new test for detecting human growth hormone has been developed, which would make it more difficult for athletes to cheat at the Beijing Olympics, which open in August.
Human growth hormone, or HGH, is produced naturally in the body by most individuals. Undetectable for the better part of the past two decades, HGH is suspected of being one of the most widely abused substances in sport, with athletes who dope using it to stimulate growth in body tissue and allow themselves to work harder, longer and more often.
Tygart was speaking at a hearing of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he joined forces with Olympic gymnast Jair Lynch and US officials to urge the United States to ratify UNESCO's International Convention Against Doping in Sport before the summer Olympics. – (Sapa, May 2008)
New doping test for Olympic cheats