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World Sport

Anti-drugs chief confirms HGH test


SPECIAL REPORT
• Olympics 2004: Special report 
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ATHENS, Greece -- World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Dick Pound said there was nowhere left for drugs cheats to hide after confirming that athletes at the Athens Olympics will be tested for human growth hormone (HGH).

"We have a test," Pound told a news conference.

"The parameters of the test we are keeping to ourselves. If there are people taking this we are going to be able to find them."

There has never previously been an effective test for HGH, which stimulates muscle and tissue growth.

The new test is the latest weapon in WADA's arsenal following the development of tests for the endurance-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO) and so-called designer steroids such as tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), which have been chemically engineered to deceive the testers.

"The likelihood of getting caught is getting larger ever day," said Pound.

"EPO, growth hormone, any designer steroid we know about, we now have a test for."

Pound also criticized U.S. athletics bosses over a spate of recent drugs cases among American athletes following an investigation into the BALCO laboratory in California, where THG was developed.

On Wednesday world 100 meters champion Torri Edwards was banned for two years after testing positive for nikethamide.

"The leadership within USA Track and Field has been largely responsible for this problem getting as extensive as it has," said Pound.

"They are going to have to look very carefully at their own house. A lot of the problem has been that there is simply a lack of no tolerance for cheating.

"Unless and until that message goes out and there's some stringent measures to ensure it happens, it's kind of an invitation to flirt out there at the edges."

Pound said a comprehensive out-of-competition dope-testing program was already in operation ahead of the Games which officially start with the opening ceremony on Friday.

On Monday canoeist Jovino Gonzalez was thrown off the Spanish team after failing a surprise pre-Olympic drug test.

Boxer David Munyasia was also dropped from the Kenyan team after testing for recreational drugs.


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