Athletics: Moses leads call for tougher action on drugs

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(First Edition)

AT THE Olympic Congress in Paris yesterday, the former gold medallist Ed Moses called for tougher action against drugs in sport and for a greater voice for athletes in Olympic affairs, including a say in choosing the host cities.

Moses, a long-standing campaigner against drug abuse in sport, urged world sports leaders to increase out-of-competition testing and the number of tests conducted at the Olympics and at major championships.

'It is imperative that we exert full pressure, not only upon the athletes, but also other individuals close to the athletes that may encourage the use of doping or other illegal manipulations,' he said.

Moses, a member of the International Olympic Committee's athletes commission, made the keynote speech on the second day of the four-day Congress, devoted to the theme of 'The Contemporary Athlete'. He called on national Olympic committees which had dragged their heels on effective random testing to step up their efforts to catch drug cheats.

'The athletes insist on strong sanctions for use of banned substances and techniques as well as continued research into and the development of new controls of new substances,' Moses said. 'Of great concern to us are the controls for testosterone, growth hormones, blood-doping techniques and other new genetically made materials.'

The former 400 metres hurdler was reflecting widespread concern that athletes are continually able to stay ahead of the process of detecting new performance-enhancing drugs. Moses, following IOC policy, called for a standard list of banned drugs and common sanctions for offenders in all sports.

The hurdler, gold medallist at the 1976 Games in Montreal and the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, also urged the IOC to give athletes greater prominence and make them the 'cornerstone pillar' of the Games. Athletes should have a greater voice in the decision-making processes of sport, he added, and should have say in the selection of Olympic Games' host cities.

'The interests and welfare of the athlete should be the most important criteria for the choice of the host cities,' he said.

Moses's call was backed by International Amateur Athletic Federation president, Primo Nebiolo. 'The athlete of the future is also the leader of the future and the time has come for the international federations to offer new and better opportunities for athletes to be involved in the leadership and decision-making of these governing bodies,' he said. Nebiolo, often criticised by athletes for what they called an autocratic style of leadership, said he would support changes to give competitors more power within the IAAF.