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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory