Three sports snub anti-drugs move

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The Independent Online

All but three international summer sports federations have joined the World Anti-Doping Agency's program for unannounced out-of-competition doping tests ahead of the Sydney Olympics, the agency said in Lausanne, Switzerland today.

All but three international summer sports federations have joined the World Anti-Doping Agency's program for unannounced out-of-competition doping tests ahead of the Sydney Olympics, the agency said in Lausanne, Switzerland today.

It criticised the three holdouts - gymnastics, modern pentathlon and volleyball - for placing an "unnecessary stigma of suspicion" on their competitors. Fourteen of the 25 federations that have signed up had to amend their drug control policies to do so, WADA said.

WADA, created last year to coordinate a worldwide testing campaign for banned performance-enhancing drugs, said it so far has conducted 680 tests and plans to carry out another 1,250 before the Olympics open Sept. 15.

That will bring it to 90 percent of the goal of 2,150 before the start of the games.

"The implementation of the other 10 percent of the tests relies on the willingness of the three federations that have yet to agree to submit to the independent doping control program," WADA said.

Two federations - the International Gymnastics Federation and the International Modern Pentathlon Union - have so far refused to submit to the WADA program.

A third, the International Volleyball Federation, "has delayed negotiations so long as to risk the implementation of a viable out-of-competition testing program in its sport before the Olympic Games," WADA said.

Dick Pound, the International Olympic Committee vice-president who chairs WADA, called on athletes to urge the three federations to change their stance.

"It is unfortunate that athletes competing in the ... three sports may be regarded with suspicion as a result of the refusal of their international federations to participate in the program," Pound said.

"This is an unfair burden for them to carry."

After-hours calls to the volleyball and gymnastics federations were not answered. The pentathlon federation had no immediate comment.

WADA has appointed the Drug-Free Sport Consortium to conduct the tests. The consortium consists of three agencies - the Australian Sport Drug Agency, the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport and the Norwegian Confederation of Sports.

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