On The Beijing Beat: IOC announces back to the future dope-testing regime
Tuesday 19 August 2008
Doping samples from these Games will be kept for eight years instead of the current six months so they can be retested as technology develops to catch cheats retrospectively. According to Chen Zhiyu, the head of the Beijing anti-doping division, some 4,500 samples of blood and urine will be frozen, and under new IOC guidelines, will be available to the IOC as advanced testing techniques are developed.
The British cycling squad are vociferously in favour of blood testing to keep their sport clean, although Chris Hoy's badly bruised arm is testimony to all the blood tests he has had to provide, not to mention the botched ones.
If the Scot had one complaint about the testing it is how long it takes to extract the blood. Says Hoy: "On the night of the keirin [Saturday], when I had the time trial for the sprint the next morning, it took two hours to go through the whole procedure. It was the most ridiculous drawn-out process. People were sitting round waiting. They just didn't have enough people. It was very disorganised and very unprofessional. I didn't get a meal until after 11.30 that night and I was racing first thing the next morning. Obviously the doping control is there for a reason, and I'm glad it's there, but it could be done a bit better."
Xiang withdrawal costs China money
It's not just hurdler Liu Xiang who has lost out from his shock exit from the Games, but the nation's coffers. As a "state-owned asset", he shares all his earnings with the Chinese Athletic Association, his coach, his local government authority and others. That is why he personally made a mere £12.5m last year despite being a superstar, as opposed to the £29.5m made by "free market" basketball giant, Yao Ming.
Still, both men's salaries are in a different league to the meagre rewards handed to China's first-ever gold medallist, Xu Haifeng, who won in the shooting in 1984. His bonus for bringing such glory on China was £701, and his monthly salary rose from £3.93 to a whopping £7.60. "I felt like a millionaire," he said.
Word on the street
Given Name Jiali
Birthplace Hunan Province. Visiting Beijing for the Olympics.
Occupation At University studying accounting.
What have you got planned for today? I'm here to watch the athletics with my friend (pictured, to Jiali's left). We got our tickets on the internet for only 200 RMB each (about £16), that's not too pricey. Mind you, our seats are quite far back. We get to see the Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva. We are so excited!
Which events are you most interested in? We have followed anything in which China have been competing. Did you know, we now have 35 gold medals?
Apart from China, are there any other teams or sportsmen that you feel strongly about, and why? I have been watching most of America's basketball matches, mainly because of Kobe [Bryant]. I love him!
What are the best and worst things about the Olympic Games in Beijing? The best thing is what it has done for the environment here in Beijing. Just look around at all the trees that have been planted, it was so bleak around here before. Also, the air quality is much better. In every way Beijing is better than it has ever been, I can't think of a bad thing.
Would London be able to host a Games as well as Beijing? Sure, Britain's a developed country. You have experience of hosting this sort of thing, and as a much richer country, you will have much more and better technology at hand.
Those with even the most basic grasp of Mandarin can understand a large amount of Chinese sports commentary; the words hao qiu (good ball) are repeated almost ad nauseum over any football, basketball, or tennis match in China.
However, it seems other events are given a similar treatment, regardless of whether or not there is a ball in sight. Hao qiu was heard throughout the fencing final; during the same match the commentator even shouted the Chinese for "Goal!"
If the organisers are to be believed, meanwhile, the parties at "Club Bud" in the vast Agricultural Exhibition Centre are the place to see medal winners, sports legends and music and movie stars walking the red carpet "and celebrating the Olympic spirit in style".
There is one catch: entry is by invite only. However, tickets seem to be changing hands among expats like they are going out of style. Since many foreigners living here seem to know someone with influence, a couple of phone calls can be enough to get a ticket for the party.
Best of the rest
The main event
15.10: Athletics Britain's Christine Ohuruogu, who came back from suspension to become the world 400m champion, goes for gold against the American Sanya Richards. It could be one of the races of the Games. Ohuruogu won her semi-final in 50.14sec, but Richards, who missed last year's world championships, was the fastest qualifier in 49.90sec
09.30 Track cycling Women's sprint semi-finals, with Britain's Victoria Pendleton aiming for gold. The finals are at 11.25
10.30 Track cycling Bradley Wiggins won bronze with Rob Hayles four years ago and today he goes for his third gold of the Games. His partner in the two-man madison is Mark Cavendish, who won four Tour de France stages last month.
14.01 Boxing Tony Jeffries meets Hungary's Imre Szello for a place in the light-heavyweight semi-finals
15.50 Athletics Men's 1500m final. Andy Baddeley has an outside chance of a medal.
Best of the rest
What you may have missed overnight...
02.30 Athletics: Britain's Jade Johnson and the former heptathlon champion, Carolina Kluft, in long jump qualifying
03.00 Triathlon: Britain's Alistair Brownlee, Will Clarke and Tim Don sought gold in the men's event
06.00 Sailing: Medal races in both Laser events. Britain's Paul Goodison started in gold medal position in the men's event while Penny Clark was 10th in the women's.
Coming up later today....
08.30 Canoeing: Britain's Tim Brabants, already in the 1,000m final, sets out in the single kayak (K1) 500m heats
09.40: Track cycling: Chris Hoy, winner in the team sprint and keirin, races in the semi-finals of the individual sprint in search of his third gold, with his fellow Briton Jason Kenny potentially his greatest threat. The finals are at 11.35
09.40 Canoeing: Britain's Lucy Wainwright competes in the single kayak (K1) 500m heats
10.50 Canoeing: Britain's Jessica Walker and Anna Hemmings go in the kayak double (K2) 500m heats
12.00: Athletics: Women's 200m quarter-finals. With both 100m golds in Jamaican hands and Usain Bolt likely to claim the men's 200m, can Allyson Felix of the US stop a Caribbean clean sweep of the sprints?
14.45: Athletics: Men's 400m semi-finals. Britain's Martyn Rooney bids for a place in the final, then a shot at a medal
If you want to stay up late tonight...
02.00 Swimming Britain's Cassie Patten and Kerri-Anne Payne start for the 10km open water race at Lake Shunyi
04.00 Taekwondo: Britain's Michael Harvey faces Mexico's Guillermo Perez in the under-58kg preliminary round
A hot and humid day with rain likely. Temperatures will reach 30C.
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