Hundreds of British athletes to be tested for new 'designer steroid'

The biggest drugs scandal to hit sport was looming last night, with scores of the world's leading athletes facing lengthy bans for use of a previously unknown steroid.

The biggest drugs scandal to hit sport was looming last night, with scores of the world's leading athletes facing lengthy bans for use of a previously unknown steroid.

Testing will begin in Britain within the next few days on more than 1,000 recently stored samples. The tests are for THG, a performance-enhancing steroid "tweaked" by scientists in the United States to evade normal doping checks. A test specially designed to detect THG has only recently been developed, and the decision to recheck samples so comprehensively is unprecedented.

There are severe doubts over the future of Britain's number one sprinter Dwain Chambers, the fastest man in Europe and a serious contender for Olympic gold. Chambers admitted he had tested positive for THG, or tetrahydro-gestrinone. But he denied knowingly taking it.

The developments have set a timebomb for athletics authorities throughout the world, and could severely damage the future of the sport.

Bans for a number of other athletes, mainly American, could seriously threaten the quality of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. It has been reported that about 20 US athletes, including Olympic and world record holders have tested positive from samples taken at the US championships in June.

On Friday, the International Association of Athletics Federations announced all 400 urine samples it took at the World Athletics Championships in Paris in August would be unfrozen and retested for THG. National sporting bodies in Australia, Greece and Germany have also announced they would be re-examining recent batches of samples.

Michele Verroken, director of UK Sport's anti-doping unit, said that, in addition to the start of tests on the 1,000 samples stored at its Chelsea laboratory, action would be taken within the next couple of days to test any athletes known to have been training or competing in the United States.

David Moorcroft, chief executive of UK Athletics, stressed Chambers had not yet been suspended, saying the IAAF had the responsibility to see the process through.

He added that the latest process of investigating so-called "designer" steroids was "depressing", but said it was a price worth paying if the sport was to take dope-testing seriously.

Asked to compare the crisis with the previous spate of positive tests for the steroid nandrolone in the late Nineties by British athletes such as Doug Walker, Linford Christie and Mark Richardson, Mr Moorcroft said: "My suspicion is that this isn't about contaminated supplements, it's about the real McCoy cheating."

The discovery of THG was prompted this summer when an anonymous coach claimed that a number of top athletes were taking the drug.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
News
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola, writes Ian Herbert
News
people
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: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Designer / Design Director

£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
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