Over a dozen Greek athletes who failed doping tests prior to and during last month's Beijing Olympics thought a rare anabolic steroid would help them elude tests, a leading anti-doping expert said Monday.
But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had been on the
lookout for cheats from Greece ever since the drug, methyltrienolone,
turned up in the results of 11 Greek weightlifters in April, Don
Catlin, a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency's committee for
science and medicine, told Ta Nea daily.
"The Greek case...involved the use of a particularly rare and
dangerous anabolic whose use had not been officially recorded before,"
"Whoever marketed it in Greece undoubtedly argued that it is not
harmful and could not be traced, as only small quantities are needed
for it to act."
15 athletes tested positive
In all, fifteen Greek athletes in three disciplines -
weightlifting, swimming and athletics - have tested positive for
methyltrienolone, severely embarrassing Greek authorities which on
Monday tabled tougher anti-doping legislation in parliament.
"The (Greek) state wants clean athletes," Michalis Liapis, the Greek
culture minister responsible for sport, told reporters.
The new regulations cut rewards for successful athletes to
discourage drug cheating and toughen sanctions against providers of
banned substances, corrupt anti-doping officials and sports officials.
The doping outbreak has already sparked a preliminary judicial probe.
Among those caught is Fani Halkia, the women's 400m hurdles gold medallist at the
Athens Olympics, whose coach George Panagiotopoulos has now been sued
by the IOC for causing damage to its reputation.
Catlin is a senior US chemist whose research led to the uncovering
of the BALCO steroid scandal and the first test for THG, the once-undetectable drug that dope cheats had used with great success. – (Sapa-AFP)
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