Bobsleigh tops roll of drug dishonour

BOBSLEIGH, WEIGHTLIFTING and baseball produced the most drugs cheats in sport in 1997, according to a Swedish newspaper which claims to have seen a confidential International Olympic Committee report.

BOBSLEIGH, WEIGHTLIFTING and baseball produced the most drugs cheats in sport in 1997, according to a Swedish newspaper which claims to have seen a confidential International Olympic Committee report.

Dagens Nyheter said the report showed that 1,090 athletes proved positive out of 69,404 doping tests conducted over two years ago. That is an average of positives of 1.57 per cent from all tests, with bobsleigh heading the sport-by-sport list with 3.27 per cent. Weightlifting was the second worst offender, with 3.16 per cent out of 4,400 tests, followed by baseball's 2.85 per cent from 450.

Cycling showed 2.77 per cent positive from 9,771 tests, while athletics averaged 1.29 per cent from 16,000 checks and football returned the lowest number of positives, at only 0.61 per cent from 1,000 tests.

The leading anti-doping expert, Arne Ljungqvist, who heads the International Amateur Athletic Federation's medical committee, said that the negative image of the IAAF was unfair, suggesting the opinion was distorted by the recent spate of high-profile cases involving Merlene Ottey, Linford Christie and Javier Sotomayor. He said that he expected the IOC to take more responsibility for all Olympic sports in future and that different rules in different countries did not work.

The International Cycling Union will place more emphasis on pre-race medical controls. The ICU's president, Hein Verbruggen, speaking after an ICU congress at the World Championships, said the difficulty in catching drug cheats is "a major problem" for the sport. "We must reflect on the great number of cases undetected by anti-doping tests, which are very costly," he said.

Drug tests, mainly from urine samples, cost the ICU about £1.6m a year - money Verbruggen said would be better spent on blood tests.

n A Sri Lankan hurdler and a weightlifter who participated in the South Asian Federation Games in Nepal have tested positive for banned drugs. Sunil Gunawardhana, of Sri Lanka's Sports Ministry, said the two un-named athletes tested positive for the steroid nandrolone.

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