OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Optimism over drugs

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DESPITE the news that clenbuterol had claimed another victim at the weekend - four athletes have now failed drug tests at the Games - Prince Alexandre de Merode, the head of the IOC's medical commission, was in upbeat mood yesterday.

'Four cases is not enormous. Two were unfortunate cases. It's fewer than previous Games,' he said. 'I'm very optimistic that the fight against doping is progressing very well. The prospects for the future are very good.'

But not for the shot putter Bonnie Dasse, 33, whose test after finishing eighth showed signs of clenbuterol. She was the fifth American Olympian to be caught since testing began in 1972.

De Merode is right - there were 10 failures at Seoul. But Manfred Donike, of Germany, a leading drug expert, is less sanguine. He said that the only reason the clenbuterol takers were caught was that they got bad advice from the black-market handbook circulating in the village, which said it disappeared from their systems within 24 hours.