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Moses warns of drug cheats at world champs

other Updated: Aug 24, 2007 13:13 IST

AFP
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Two-time Olympic champion Ed Moses has warned that a medallist is likely to be banned for drug use at the World Athletics Championships opening at Osaka on Saturday.

The legendary American hurdler was responding to comments from former drugs supplier Victor Conte that "the use of performance enhancing substances is rampant".

"There is probably a lot of truth in what he's saying," Moses said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

"It's very depressing, unfortunate and unfair that two weeks after the event, someone who won a medal will be banned," added Moses, who won the 400 metre hurdles at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics.

Athletics world governing body IAAF on Thursday asked the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to adopt stronger penalties for doping, including a doubling of the ban for serious first-time violations to four years.

"We remain convinced that strong penalties are an important cornerstone of an effective anti-doping campaign in general, and in athletics in particular," the IAAF Congress said in a statement.

WADA is reviewing its anti-doping code and will adopt a revised one in November but it is thought unlikely it will approve the changes sought by the IAAF.

Moses, 52 next week, questioned the effectiveness of the IAAF's calls and blamed selfish officials for the problems.

"It's very well-timed, right before the World Championships, but will the momentum be there after the World Championships are over?" he asked.

"The problem is the people in leadership in the IAAF who have self-interest and when it comes to the time to take a hard line it never happens."

Conte, who served a four-month jail sentence for his role in giving athletes performance-enhancing drugs, made his claims in an earlier interview with the BBC.

"I don't believe that the playing field they will compete on in Osaka will be any different than any other previous world championship," said the head of the US sports nutrition centre BALCO.

"It's better now than it was a few years ago but I still believe there are enormous loopholes you can drive a freight train through. I believe the testing is still very easy to beat," Conte added.

IAAF president Lamine Diack has admitted difficulty in catching drug cheats who invent technical means to mask their use of banned substances.

But he told reporters at Osaka on Thursday that the IAAF had been strict against doping as it conducted 2,000 tests last year in contrast to another, unnamed, international federation which conducted just 200.

"Here amongst the people who win the medals (with drug use), nobody will be able to go scot free unless there is a new breakthrough," he said.