IOC’s Ljungqvist irked by dope test ‘delay’ claims

IOC's Ljungqvist irked by dope test 'delay' claims
Swedish International Olympic Committee (IOC) anti-doping crusader Arne Ljungqvist has responded to criticism from World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) head Dick Pound over testing procedures after the 2004 Athens Olympics.

“I would like to express some concern and disappointment from having kept

samples from the Athens Games for seven years and done nothing to test them,” said 70-year-old Canadian lawyer Pound.

“If we are going to live after our zero tolerance then we really have to have the ability to test these samples.”

The IOC drug testing policy has been to keep the samples as a deterrent to cheating athletes from using substances that may become detectable at a later date.

Several samples from Athens in 2004 have only recently been revealed to have been suspect.

However, Arne Ljungqvist, 81, said there had been sound scientific reasons for

the ‘delay’, although he conceded the IOC could have acted more quickly.

“Had we done these tests much earlier, like halfway through 2004 to now (2008), we probably wouldn’t have found anything. But now, having waited, we have found something.”

“I think they (those comments) should be slightly modified to depict reality,” the Sweden said pointing that extensive testing has in fact been undertaken.

“We have tested samples from both Beijing and the Turin (Winter) Games and

we did find some additional cases at the Beijing Games. We found nothing from the over 100 samples we took from the Turin Games and they took place in 2006.”

Ljungqvist, who has been president of the IOC medical commission since 2003, said they had to wait so long after the Athens Games because there was not enough information about the substances to be tested that could have been used at the time.

Ljungqvist confirmed that the philosophy remains to retain samples to analyse for substances that could not be tested at the time and conceded that Pound did have a point about the speed of the process.

“I do admit we could have done it earlier. This is a good lesson and we will follow your (Pound’s) advice.”

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