Athletics: IAAF plans to bring in blood tests

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The Independent Online
ATHLETES will be blood-tested for the first time this year following yesterday's decision by the council of the International Amateur Athletic Federation at their meeting in Jakarta, writes Mike Rowbottom.

In an effort to make its anti-drug programme more effective and far-reaching, the federation has introduced the potentially controversial technique a year earlier than the International Olympic Committee.

Arne Ljungqvist, the IAAF medical committee chairman, said the tests would be available at Grand Prix meetings in Brussels, Zurich, Berlin and Oslo, but organisers would not be forced to use them.

Blood testing, which will supplement urine testing, has been opposed on religious grounds and from the point of view of personal liberties. It would detect blood doping and growth hormones.

At their meeting, the IAAF also refused to give prize-money at the world championships, despite a boycott threat by some elite athletes; it gave the world 400 metres record holder, Butch Reynolds, a month to call off his legal action against the federation; and decided against reviewing world records set by Carl Lewis and Mike Powell in 1991 on a Tokyo track that did not comply with flexibility guidelines.