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IOC strengthens rules against doping
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The governing body of the Beijing Olympics has stiffened laws against doping cheats for the upcoming Games, according to an International Olympic Committee (IOC) announcement yesterday in the Chinese capital.

The announcement said possession of any substance on the prohibited list will be considered a violation of IOC's anti-doping rules. Previously, only the use of particular substances on the World Anti-Doping Association's banned list constituted an offense.

"If an athlete is caught in possession of these substances, they will have violated the rules," communications director Giselle Davies said after the first day of an IOC executive board meeting.

"It is a hardening of the anti-doping regulations, absolutely ... a stiffening of the rules.

"Specifically, (the new rules) come into effect from the day that the Olympic Village opens on July 27 until it closes on August 24.

"The IOC has strengthened its measures for doping procedures. For example, athletes will now be subject to tests at any time or place with no advanced notice."

The number of doping tests at the Beijing Games will increase to 4,500, up from 3,600 at the 2004 Athens Games.

The IOC also announced yesterday that it has decided to strip the medals of the US women's relay team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics since team member Marion Jones has been disqualified for using performance-enhancing drugs.

"The decision was taken that the United State relay team will be disqualified from the 4x100m, where the women placed third, and the 4x400m, where they placed first. USOC will be asked to return the medals and diplomas of the other athletes," Davies said.

Jones returned her five medals last year and the IOC formally stripped her of the results in December. Jones won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x400m relay, and bronze in the long jump and 4x100 relay at the 2000 Games.

HK paddlers permitted

The IOC executive board also said it would grant permission to three Hong Kong athletes to participate in the Beijing Games, even though they do not hold Hong Kong passports as required.

Eight athletes from Hong Kong asked for Olympic eligibility, but only three of them were approved. They are table tennis players Lin Ling and Tie Yana and swimmer Hannah Wilson.

"Because those athletes do not have a Hong Kong passport, they have not fully reached the criteria," Davies said. "Only three will be eligible for the Games because they participated in the Games in Athens."

The IOC stipulates that athletes must have a passport to represent a country or region.

(China Daily April 11, 2008)

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