Athletics: IAAF sets up biggest ever drug testing programme

More than 850 tests will be carried out at the world championships in Helsinki between 6 and 14 August. Virtually one in every two athletes will be tested during the competition, the IAAF said in a statement.

Approximately 350 competitors will be blood screened as they enter the athletes' village and nearly 500 tests will be carried out during the event.

About 100 blood tests will also be carried out during the championships for the detection of blood transfusion, haemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOCS) and other substances. HBOCS have been named by many experts as possible performance boosters.

"The IAAF is determined to ensure that these championships highlight our on-going, aggressive commitment to the war on doping," the president, Lamine Diack, said.

"In Paris, at the last edition of the world championships, 405 doping tests were carried out. In Helsinki, in co-operation with the Finnish Anti-Doping Agency, we plan to have the most ambitious and comprehensive system of testing ever activated at a world championships.

"We have increased the testing before, during and after the competition and we will also focus our efforts on education," added Diack.

Meanwhile, China's Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang is out of form and unlikely to win gold in Helsinki, according to his coach. Liu was exhausted after running five races in the United States and Europe this year and has been struggling with a knee injury, his coach, Sun Haiping, said.

"Liu Xiang is not as strong as before travelling to Athens for the Olympic Games last year," Sun said. "At that time, he was ready to create miracles in Athens. But now he is not in good form."

Liu, 21, equalled the world record for the 110-metre hurdles at Athens in 12.91 seconds and his showdown with American four-times world champion Allen Johnson is one of the most anticipated races of the world championships, which start on 6 August. Johnson won their most recent duel in New York last month, while Liu was victorious in the previous race in Oregon after his American rival was disqualified.

But they both face a competitive field, which includes France's Ladji Doucoure, in Helsinki. Sun said he would be satisfied if Liu managed to better his bronze medal at the 2003 world championships in Paris.

China's latest sporting hero has been deluged with letters of support . "I tried to write back to a few," Liu, now 22, said via a translator during an interview. "But I had to give up. I would not have been able to do anything else but respond to letters."

Liu's mailbag contained a startling 300 love letters on some days, said his translator, Shelley Peng. All the messages, including the romantic notes, are in storage, waiting for Liu to find an opportunity to read them.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk