Games officials defend move to conceal test results

By Julian Linden


MELBOURNE – Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) officials have defended their decision to conceal details of their anti-doping tests until the Games have finished.


CGF president Mike Fennell told a news conference on Th

ursday that any public announcements about athletes who fail doping tests would be delayed until after the Games conclude on Sunday to ensure the proper appeals process had been followed.


“We believe it is important to protect the integrity of all the athletes taking part in the Games and to complete these processes before any announcement is made on whether all clean, or all dirty or whatever,” he said.


“I do agree the process is a little long but the process is a little different here to protect the athletes from misinterpretation of what is going on.


“It is important to protect the rights of the athletes properly because the penalties are severe in the end.”


Fennell said he would not comment on media reports that two Indian weightlifters had returned positive tests.


The Indian news agency PTI, quoting an unnamed team source, said two lifters had failed drugs tests. PTI said neither had won a medal at the Melbourne Games.


ANTI-DOPING BLITZES


“Whilst there will be speculation, we are not going to add to that speculation,” Fennell said.


The Indian team’s chef-de-mission HJ Dora, who is also the head of the Indian weightlifting federation, told Reuters he was unaware of any positive tests.


“I have not been informed about any positive drug tests relating to Indian athletes,” he said.


“Normally it takes 48 hours for the results to be known but no-one has contacted me.


“It is impossible for me to comment on these reports.”


Officials had promised to conduct one of the toughest-ever anti-doping blitzes at the Games, with almost one in four athletes to be drug tested.


Fennell said that about 1,000 of the 4,500 athletes competing in the March 15-26 Games would be tested, making it an even tougher testing programme than the 2004 Athens Olympics. — Reuter

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