All GB athletes drug tested before Games

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The Independent Online

All British athletes competing at the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will have been tested at least once before the competition begins in Vancouver, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) announced yesterday.

It is part of a comprehensive pre-Games testing and education programme, says UKAD, the country's first standalone anti-doping body.

Anti-doping services being made available to athletes during the Games include an online reference site which allows athletes to check the status of specific substances and a 24-hour helpline manned by UKAD. Posters and advice cards have also been sent to holding camps and Team GB headquarters. UKAD chair David Kenworthy said: "Our work with athletes leading into both the Winter Olympics and Paralympics is evidence that we have hit the ground running.

"We look forward to playing a lead role in protecting the right of athletes to compete in doping-free sport."

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: "We want UKAD to lead the world in anti-doping and I believe that we have the team and infrastructure in place to make that happen. Athletes and fans must be confident that sport is clean and everything is being done to catch drug cheats."

UKAD also has two staff based in Vancouver during the Games. Operations director Nicole Sapstead will sit on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) independent observer team, which monitors the doping control and results management processes, and education team member Jude Ford will be part of WADA's athlete outreach team, which aims to raise awareness and build understanding about doping-free sport.

Meanwhile, bobsleigh pilot Aoife Hoey will be the Irish team's flag bearer in Friday's opening ceremony in Vancouver. Hoey, 25, from Portarlington, was chosen by the Olympic Council of Ireland to carry the Irish tricolour in the athletes' parade. "I am absolutely thrilled at being given this honour," she said.