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IOC to retest Beijing samples
mchawk | October 11, 2008 at 12:16 pmby
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The International Olympic Comitee (IOC) has called for further analysis of all samples taken during the Beijing Games. They are searching for a drug that brought scandal to the 2008 Tour de France: CERA, a third generation EPO, which improves an athlete's endurance by boosting production of red blood-cells. During the games, no test for CERA was available. Now, the French Anti Doping Agency has developed a test they are using to re-screen all tests from the Tour. A test they will then apply to the Olympic samples.
Olympic athletes will now have to wait to see if broken records are to be reinstated and medals recinded.
All samples are currently being repatriated to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne where Olympic samples are usually stored after the Games.
As part of its zero-tolerance policy against doping, the IOC is storing samples collected during the Olympic Games for eight years. This allows the IOC to analyse samples retroactively should fully validated tests to detect new substances/methods become available.
"Our message is very clear. The IOC will not miss any opportunity to further analyse samples retroactively. We hope that this will work as a strong deterrent and make athletes think twice before cheating," said IOC President Jacques Rogge.
Some 4,770 doping tests were carried out in Beijing in the framework of the largest ever testing programme for an Olympic Games. The tests included 3,801 urine and 969 blood tests. Urine tests included 817 EPO tests, and blood tests covered 471 human Growth Hormone (hGH) tests. All the tests covered the 29-day period from 27 July until 24 August 2008. Athletes qualified for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games were tested by the World Anti-Doping Agency and BOCOG under the authority of the IOC. As a general rule, all top five finishers, plus a further two, were tested.
IOC medical officials haven't decided yet how many or which samples will be opened for reanalysis.
"You don't do it just by random," IOC medical commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist told the AP. "You have to base it on some suspicion. A number of blood samples were taken in Beijing. We will look into where we may have some suspicious parameters. Endurance events are of particular interest."
"Since we store the samples and have them at our disposal, we will not hesitate in doing further analysis," Ljungqvist said. "This is a message to people who are tempted to cheat that there may be something coming up soon or later."
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