Cold cures and caffeine taken off banned list

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The Independent Online

The world Anti-Doping Agency has confirmed that caffeine and pseudo-ephedrine, an ingredient in over-the-counter cold remedies such as Sudafed, are being removed from the list of banned substances for international sports.

The change will prevent athletes who take common cold remedies or drink cola or coffee from being suspended.

"Let's be reasonable," said WADA's president, Dick Pound, who also is an International Olympic Committee member, of the decision.

The agency also named modafinil, the medication that could cost United States sprinter Kelli White two World Championship gold medals, as a banned stimulant for the first time. Cannabis remained on the banned list, Pound said.

Last week, the head of WADA's medical research committee said the list would be changed to reflect changing times. "We must adjust our list to modern thinking and to changes of attitude and changes of knowledge," said Arne Ljungqvist, who is also head of the medical commissions of the IOC and the International Association Athletics Federations.

The new list will be posted on the WADA website by 1 October, and will take effect globally on 1 January. It applies to all sports and all countries covered by WADA's global anti-doping code, which WADA wants to be in force for next year's Athens Olympics.

A WADA statement said 81 countries have signed the Copenhagen Declaration affirming support for WADA and the code, and 62 sports organisations have adopted the code with plans to implement it before the Athens Games.

The US Anti-Doping Agency has this year reported two positive pseudoephedrine cases in swimming, one in speed skating and one in Paralympic events; though none among élite athletes. A positive test results in disqualification from the event and a public warning, but no ban. Caffeine has also produced its share of positive findings.