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Official: Beijing keeps eye on THG
( 2003-10-23 15:41) (Xinhua)

Beijing is keeping a close eye on the latest athletics doping scandal centering on the designer steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) and firmly against any use of banned substances, an anti-doping expert from the Chinese Olympic Committee said Thursday.

"We're firmly against not only THG, but any form of breach to the fair play principle or any use of drugs that harm athletes' health," said Shi Kangcheng, a veteran soldier in the fight against drugs.

Shi expressed his concerns over the issue and said that Beijing always holds the same stand with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) in anti-doping battle.

The scandal came to light after an anonymous tip off from an American "top" coach who sent a syringe to the USADA, which later came up with a test to detect the drug.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief executive officer Craig Masback announced that four of its athletes tested positive for THG, a synthetic anabolic steroid which up until now has been undetectable, although their names have not yet been released pending the results of tests on 'B' samples.

Shi hoped that each nation or sport would join hands to fight against drug abuse.

"It (THG) tells us that the anti-doping battle is a long-term and complicated task that challenges the whole international sports society," He said, "we would like to cooperate with international anti-doping agencies to curb any drug use."

"It's also a technical contest in which new testing methods are developed to detect latest drugs," Shi added.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has sent the testing method to all IOC/WADA accredited laboratories including the Beijing laboratory and some labs such as Cologne and Los Angels have announced to retest stored urine samples in their labs.

Beijing hasn't decided yet whether to retest the samples stored in the doping control center, according to Shi.

And all samples collected from the ongoing city games will not be tested for THG, said Shi. "The 2003 rules in doping test are observed this time in the city games."

World athletics governing body IAAF has also decided to retest about 400 urine samples from the World Championships in August, and said any positive findings would lead to retroactive punishment.

FINA, which governs swimming sport in the world, is also considering to retest samples from its world swimming championships this summer.

IOC has promised to "make all efforts" to test THG during the Athens Games, but stressed that at this stage "the issues at hand are a matter for the relevant national and international sports federations".

Dwain Chambers, the European 100 meters champion who regularly trains in California, has become the first athlete to admit testing positive for THG.

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