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Klüft touts computer chip implants

Published: 19 Dec 2007 12:59 GMT+01:00

Klüft and Holm, reigning Olympic champions in the heptathlon and high-jump events, both agreed that competitors at the highest level should either have computer chips implanted into their skin or GPS transmitters attached to their training bags to help keep track of their movements at all times.

According to Klüft, today's system - whereby athletes provide quarterly advance reports of their probable whereabouts - is not sufficient to tackle the sport's problems with doping.

"I have previously proposed that we should have computer chips surgically implanted into our skin. But it might be just as good if everybody at a certain level had a key ring with a GPS transmitter on their training bags. That way everybody involved knows where we are at all times and can find us for tests," Klüft told Svenska Dagbladet.

"I wouldn't have any complaints about surveillance of this kind. In fact, I think we have an obligation to go along with most things. Doping is terrible, which means it is important we have an open mind and are brave enough to discuss and debate the issue," she added.

The Swedish superstar, who has not lost a single heptathlon or pentathlon event since 2002, also revealed that the mere thought of consuming a banned substance filled her with dread. If ever she failed a doping test, Klüft said that her life would not be worth living and she would have to leave Sweden.

Stefan Holm, gold medal winner in the high jump event at the 2004 Olympics, said he was open to his compatriot's suggestions.

"Honestly, why not? [A GPS transmitter] might be radical and it sounds brutal but sometimes it feels like a good solution to avoid being treated with suspicion for no reason. But it's hard to be one hundred percent sure without having a chip surgically implanted into the skin," he told Svenska Dagbladet.

Since athletes are already observed very closely, Holm argued that increased surveillance in the form of a computer chip would make little difference to the top performers.

"They really do want to know where we are at any given moment and in a way it would be the easiest way to keep track of us athletes, however science fiction and absurd it may sound," Holm added.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.se)

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