Olympic Games: Drug tests for British team before Athens

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Every single member of the British Olympic team will be tested for drugs before travelling to Athens. The programme is part of a general anti-doping drive but it also aims to avoid the potential for any embarrassment at the Games themselves.

British Olympic Committee officials believe it is preferable to weed out any potential drugs cheats before the event rather than find themselves in the centre of controversy if athletes fail tests during the Games.

As a result they have instructed the drug testers of UK Sport to take steps to test all team members. John Scott, UK Sport's acting drug-free sport director, said: "It is our intention to test every athlete before they go to Athens and we are confident that that will be achievable."

Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee president, offered a guarded assessment yesterday of the Athens Olympics, saying it remains uncertain whether the games will be a success. Rogge said: "If the Athens Games run smoothly and, I repeat, if they run smoothly.

There's still a lot to do - we have only five-and-a-half months. Our experts say if the pace of the work continues, there is enough time to finish." The remarks, which contrast with more upbeat assessments given by Rogge in recent weeks, appeared aimed at instilling a new sense of urgency in the Greek organisers.

Iraq was reinstated by the IOC yesterday, clearing the way for Iraqi athletes to compete under their national flag in Athens.

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