Olympic Games: Drug scandal hounds South Koreans

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The Independent Online
HOWLS of laughter apart, an official report yesterday suggested that drug-spiced dogmeat may be at the bottom of a doping scandal in the South Korean team for this month's Barcelona Olympics.

An official at Seoul's doping control centre said it was possible that muscle-building steroids had been put into a cocktail of herbal medicine and dogmeat taken by many Korean athletes to improve physical performance.

'If the athletes deny the use of stimulants, there's a possibility there were anabolic steroids inside herbal medicine or the medicine made of dogmeat,' the official said. Apparently 'Kae Soju' - made of a whole dog boiled with herbs and spices - is a medicine highly rated by Korean sportsmen.

At least four athletes due to compete in the Games have tested positive for banned drugs in an analysis of urine samples, according to a source at the Taenung Sport Centre, a secluded camp in Seoul where Olympic athletes have been training.

A South Korean news agency reported that three of the four had passed a subsequent test, although officials at the sports ministry and the country's central doping control centre declined to comment. The Korean Olympic Committee is, however, meeting to discuss the doping reports.

Animal lovers persuaded the South Korean government to ban the consumption of dogs and cats four years ago when Seoul hosted the Olympics. But some restaurants still serve up canine delicacies under the euphemism of 'nutritious food'.