DRUG CHEATS will have nowhere to hide in Britain, the head of UK Sport's anti-doping programme promised today.
Every British athlete competing at the Beijing Olympics next month will have been tested before departing and UK Sport, who currently run the programme, are confident the country's anti-doping measures will win the battle against the cheats.
"From August 24 when the Olympic baton is passed to London, the eyes of the world will be on us and we need to demonstrate a no-compromise approach to doping," Andy Parkinson, acting director of Drug-Free Sport at UK Sport, said at the drug control centre in King's College, London.
With London hosting the 2012 Olympics, the Government has acted to create a National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) which will operate independently of UK Sport.
The NADO will work more closely with law enforcement agencies to fight the trafficking and supply of prohibited substances.
It will also lessen the responsibility on national governing bodies to bring doping cases themselves.
"The establishment of the NADO will help us build further on the solid anti-doping foundation we already have in place in the UK," Parkinson said.
"We are building an increasingly sophisticated, intelligence-based testing programme, are one of the pioneers of what is to become the global approach to no-advance notice out-of-competition testing.
"We benefit from one of the best drug testing laboratories in the world. Put simply, any cheating athlete who thinks they can compete or train in the UK without getting caught should think again."
The King's College laboratory carried out 7,500 tests on athletes from 50 different sports last year and is part of a network of testing centres accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Professor David Cowan, who runs the King's College laboratory, said: “The general perception has always been that there is a big gap between the cheats and the authorities.
"The level of sophistication the cheats go to in trying to beat the system is well-documented, but that is now being matched by those on our side of the fence.
“The World Association of Anti-Doping Scientists was formed several years ago and as first president, I had the privilege of helping improve better communication between the laboratories.
"This network of accredited laboratories increasingly work together, sharing information and identifying trends that can assist the testers in the planning and allocation of tests.
"That essentially means there is an incredible bank of expertise focused on tackling doping in sport which should put some doubts in the mind of anyone thinking of cheating.
“Furthermore, our research activities and those of others, help to improve the analysis process.
"The improved analysis together with intelligent testing means we are better placed than ever before to tackle new substances and methods before they become a threat.”
A current example of how the Drug Control Centre and UK Sport are working together is a Steroid Profiling project in which selected samples are subject to in-depth analysis to help build more detailed long-term profiles of athletes.
Cowan said: “The sample analysis process is not simply about determining whether or not an athlete has committed an anti-doping rule violation.
"Through Steroid Profiling we can pick up anomalies in an athlete’s profile which might not necessarily mean prohibited substances are showing up at levels sufficient for them to return a positive test, but they provide information which might suggest the need for further investigation or targeted testing.”
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images