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Australian athletes cop drug warning

09/09/2003 06:05:26 PM Comments (0)

Australian athletes have been warned the world anti-doping code would be strictly enforced in the lead up to the Athens Olympics.

The warning came from federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp following what the opposition described as an alarming rise in Australian athletes caught using banned drugs in the past year.

But Senator Kemp said the rise could be attributed to better testing procedures by the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA).

"Sometimes things rise because the procedures, the testing procedures have improved," he said.

"Let me make it clear ... that the government is committed to maintaining a robust and comprehensive drug testing and education program to deter Australian sportsmen and sportswomen from taking banned substances.

"The government is committed ... to the implementation of the world anti-doping code prior to Athens in 2004 and the government will be working with Australian sporting bodies to ensure that they are able to implement the code in their sport."

The Olympics will be held in Athens next August.

Senator Kemp said ASDA's tests were distributed across various sports to catch drug cheats.

"The fact that there were more doping infractions recorded in 2002-03 ... means that ASDA is operating an effective drug testing program," he said.

"The increase in infractions for serious substances, masking agents and other substances shows that Australian sport is not immune from doping.

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