IAAF tie huge prizes to drug campaign

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The Independent Online
The world's leading athletes will have to carry an identity card next year to prove they have undertaken out-of-competition testing and are eligible to claim a share of increased championship cash prizes totalling around pounds 12.5m.

Without the "elite" card, the top 20 athletes in each discipline are not eligible for money on offer for the first time at the World Championships in Athens and all six other World Series events organised by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. These cover indoor, cross-country, race walking, half-marathon and road relay championships.

"This will be the beginning of a new era for athletics," the IAAF'S president, Primo Nebiolo, said in Monte Carlo yesterday. "It is another means of combating doping, which we feel will be very effective. We are saying `yes' to prizes, but `no' to cheating in athletics."

The money will virtually guarantee the presence of all the world's best in each event, which has not always been the case.

Linford Christie is reported to be prepared to put his retirement from international competition on hold and take on his old rival Frankie Fredericks at an indoor meeting in France next February.