2 August 2000

IOC Medical Commission recommends EPO test for Sydney 2000

Australia's EPO 2000 research team has welcomed a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical Commission to introduce a combined blood and urine test to detect synthetic use of erythropoietin (EPO) in time for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The recommendation will be considered by the IOC's Juridical Commission ahead of final approval by the organisation's Executive Board later this month. If agreed to, it will be the first time that athletes participating in a Summer Olympics have undergone blood testing.

The EPO 2000 team is made up of scientists from the Australian Institute of Sport, the Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory and international collaborators from France, Norway, Canada and China.

The team leader, Drew Clarke, said today the recommendation of the Medical Commission represented a huge step forward in the fight against drug cheating in sport.

'We know that EPO is the drug of choice for many cheating athletes and acceptance of this test by the IOC Medical Commission sends a clear message to those cheats to stop taking EPO or don't come to Sydney.

'When the combined urine/blood test is adopted it will be a high water mark for drug testing in sport and will herald a new era in the fight against drugs in sport.

'It opens the way for the detection of other illegal substances used by cheating athletes to improve their performances.

'Nobody wants the cheats to compete in Sydney and the Medical Commission's recommendation to support a combined test will take them out of the Games,' Mr Clarke said.

He said that when the test is adopted, the 2000 Olympic Games will have the tightest drug testing regime of any sporting program staged anywhere in the world.

The Director of the Australian Institute of Sport, John Boultbee, says that the recommendation to introduce a combined blood/urine test is a reflection of the quality of the work presented by the scientists.

'The recommendation is the outcome of some outstanding work by the Australian scientists and their international collaborators.

'They convinced the IOC Medical Commission that they had the method to catch the cheats.

'Both the AIS and the ASDTL scientists have produced some outstanding work of which Australia can be very proud,' Mr Boultbee said.

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Contact: Alan Reid - Media Liaison: 02 6214 1476

Mobile 0408 417 894

David Pembroke - Media Consultant: 0416 103 229


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