DRUGS IN SPORT; Sydney cracks down

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The Independent Online
AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCED stricter drug detection measures yesterday in the run-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, including an extra A$6m (pounds 2.5m) in funding to combat the use of illegal artificial stimulants.

The Australian sports minister, Jackie Kelly, said the country was working on new detection technology for the Games and warned international athletes that if they participated in Sydney while involved in doping - or "tracksuit crime" - they would be caught.

"If an athlete cheats at our Sydney Games they will test positive and we will let everyone know about it very, very quickly," she said at the launch of the strategy.

The new approach would improve border controls to stem imports of banned drugs and review regulations for the supply of any relevant legal drugs, such as steroids used by veterinarians. Kelly said Australia was considering criminal penalties for sports drug trafficking.

Broader athlete education on banned drugs was also part of the plan. Australian athletes now have to seek clearance from a committee of approved doctors to use medication which could test positive.