The International Olympic Committee (IOC), in conjunction with the Athens Organizing Committee (ATHOC),will conduct more than 3,000 doping tests at the 2004 Olympic Games.
It represents a 25 percent increase over the number of tests done at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, where 11 athletes, including six medallists, returned positive results in the tests.
"We will analyze around 3,000 tests in Athens," said Patrick Schamasch, the IOC medical director.
"There will be 385 pre-competition tests carried out by the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) across the world, including targeted tests of some athletes who may not have been tested by their National Olympic Committees," he added.
Schamasch said WADA officials will play an independent observer role at the Olympics and the doping control system will be on the look-out for banned practices such as blood transfusions, urine spiking and tampering with samples.
Testing for the designer steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), will also be adopted in Athens, said Schamasch. But he didn't confirm tests to detect Human Growth Hormone (HGH) will be used during the games.
"We don't want to predict a test -- that idea is to provide a deterrent," said Schamasch.
"It is very hard to say, but it is a definite possibility. We will test for all substances on the list. If we detect a positive finding, that will mean we have a test."
It was added to the IOC's banned list in 1989 but until now there is no valid scientific test to detect HGH's use. HGH, which stimulates the growth of muscles and bones, is believed to be one of the most abused performance-enhancing drugs in sport.
Schamasch said all samples will be kept for three months after the Olympics for retesting, if the HGH test is not used at the Athens Games.
(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2004)