ATHLETICS: Blood tests may be introduced at marathons
Tuesday 23 November 1999
AIMS, the international road race organisation, which covers 125 races from more than 50 countries - including the world's biggest marathons in New York, Chicago, Boston, Rotterdam, Berlin and London - agreed at its annual congress in Kosice, Slovakia, last month, to introduce blood tests to counter the possible use of EPO, the blood-boosting drug which remains undetectable by usual methods of doping control through urine tests.
"No one wants to see marathon running descending into the same state that professional cycling is in, where everyone seems to be on EPO," one of the congress delegates said. "The only way to prevent EPO use is to have blood tests."
EPO is a naturally occurring hormone that helps improve the blood's oxygen- carrying capacity, thus dramatically improving an athlete's endurance. Research suggests that EPO can immediately boost an athlete's performance by 10 per cent - which could amount to an improvement of more than 10 minutes over the 26.2 miles of a marathon.
Rapid improvement in marathon performances has raised suspicions of EPO use. In 1987, two years before synthetic EPO went on the market, only two men managed to run inside 2hr 10min. In each of the last three years, 50 or more men have run sub-2:10.
The International Cycling Union introduced blood tests last year. The tests do not detect EPO use, but measure the percentage of red blood cells, or haematocrit level. A rider with a haematocrit level of 50 per cent or greater can be suspended on health grounds, as happened with the 1998 Tour de France champion Marco Pantani when leading this year's Giro d'Italia.
Alan Storey, the London Marathon's race director, "felt that athletes would accept blood testing if it was a condition for them to receive any financial rewards".
Latest in Sport
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...