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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Ashdown Group: PHP Developer - Buckinghamshire - £29,000

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior PHP Developer - Milton Keynes...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales & Marketing Assistant

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This UK based B2C and B2B multi...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003