Drugs in sport: Germans' lite inquiry

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German sports authorities are to investigate allegations that track and field athletes are involved in serious drug abuse at one of their lite Olympic training centres. A German sports federation spokesman, Harald Pieper, said yesterday that the leader of the Cologne and Leverkusen Olympic training centre had informed the federation of his concern over the alleged cheating.

"If the accusations are confirmed, it is a very serious problem," Pieper said. "The DSB board discussed the matter last Friday and plans further hearings on the issue in the next months. We don't know if it's a matter of systematic doping or whatever. This has to be looked into.

"If the accusations turn out to be true, it would be a setback for our campaign against drug abuse which is one of the best in the world."

A Chinese sports leader said yesterday that some of his country's athletes are still using banned stimulants as a series of anti-drug measures designed to send users to jail were unveiled in Peking. China's vice sports minister, Yuan Weimin, said: "A small group of fame and fortune-seeking athletes are still using stimulants."

A total of 31 Chinese athletes, including a sucession of swimmers, tested positive last year.

The Chinese have published draft rules that would send violators to jail, impose heavy fines, make coaches liable and increase the frequency of out-of-competition tests. The annoucement came just before the arrival in Peking of an international federation inquiry team.