Olympic federations refuse to sign up for drug tests

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The Independent Online

Three Olympic sports have failed to sign up for unannounced out-of-competition drug tests in the run-up to the Sydney Games, it was announced yesterday.

Three Olympic sports have failed to sign up for unannounced out-of-competition drug tests in the run-up to the Sydney Games, it was announced yesterday.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said the International Gymnastics Federation and the International Modern Pentathlon Union had refused to join the programme. The International Volleyball Federation has delayed negotiations for so long that it might be too late for it to take part, the WADA added. The other 25 federations have accepted the scheme.

The WADA chairman, Richard Pound, warned that athletes from the three sports "may be regarded with some suspicion. This is an unfair burden for them to carry." He urged them to ask their federations to change tack "so that they, too, can participate in Sydney without an unnecessary stigma of suspicion". The WADA said it was on target to complete 1,930 tests, 90 per cent of its pre-Games planned total of 2,150. The other 10 per cent would depend on the three "rebel" sports falling into line.

Cuba's athletics squad have moved their training camp to Italy after leaving Spain in a dispute over the long-jump champion Niurka Montalvo's participation at the Olympics.

Montalvo married a Spaniard in 1998, became a Spanish citizen in 1999, and planned to represent the European nation in Sydney next month. But Cuba vetoed the move because under Olympic rules she needs to have been a citizen for three years. Spain threatened to retaliate by withdrawing sporting aid to Cuba, but Havana pre-empted that by ordering its athletes to leave.

The judo champion Rebecca Sullivan has become the first Australian athlete to win an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to gain selection for the Sydney Olympics, replacing her long-time rival in the 52kg division, Angela Raguz, in the team.

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