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Scandals have not tarnished Athens Games: IOC

So far seven athletes have failed doping tests at the Athens Games while another three dropped out following doping test violations.
By Karolos Grohmann (Reuters) | PTI, Athens
PUBLISHED ON AUG 25, 2004 03:57 PM IST

A string of high-profile doping scandals that saw two Olympic athletics champions lose their gold medals after their victories have not tarnished the Athens Olympics, the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday.

So far seven athletes have failed doping tests at the Athens Games while another three, including local top sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, dropped out of the Games following doping test violations.

"We should keep things in perspective. We so far have seven positive doping tests and three doping violations and in Sydney we had 11 (in total)," IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said comparing Athens with the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

"There are 10,500 athletes (in the Games) and there have been some wonderful successes."

Davies said while doping figures in Athens were not much higher than Sydney, a 25 percent rise in testing could result in more cases.

"The IOC would not be surprised if more violations of doping rules were found," she said.

Hungarian Olympic discus champion Robert Fazekas on Tuesday became the second athletics gold medallist to forfeit his title after breaking doping rules.

Irina Korzhanenko of Russia was stripped of her women's Olympic shot put gold on Sunday after testing positive for a steroid.

So far 2,015 of the expected 3,000 IOC-run drug tests have been completed.

"The IOC is determined in its fight against doping. This fight...is a priority," Davies said.

Games organisers, who suffered a major blow when Greece's biggest hopes for a medal, sprinters Kenteris and Thanou, pulled out of the Games amid a publicity whirlwind after missing a doping test, said the more athletes were caught using banned substances the better for the Games.

"The more athletes that are caught cheating in our Games the cleaner athletics we will have," Games spokesman Michael Zacharatos said.

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Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress MP Digvijaya Singh(HT file photo)

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