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Rediff.com  » Sports » We will never find a drug-free sport: WADA

We will never find a drug-free sport: WADA

October 02, 2010 19:58 IST

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) moves fast, but one thing is clear – drug cheats and pharma companies helping them break records are definitely faster than WADA.

And it was none other than WADA director-general David Howman, who made a surprise admission that we may never see any big sporting event that will be free of doping-tainted athletes.

"Can I sit here and say there is going to be a ... clean Commonwealth Games or the Olympics -- that would be very dumb of me to do that."

"Will there be athletes here who have got away with it? Possibly," Howman said in Delhi, on Saturday.

The Delhi Commonwealth Games featuring nearly 7000 athletes from 71 countries will take place from October 3-14.

He further added that the menace arises because some athletes want to take a shortcut to success and take risks by performing with steroids and other drugs.

"I don't think we are ever going to find a situation where we find a drug-free sport because there is always going to be somebody who wants to take the risk," he said.

But the anti-doping body said in the long run, every athlete who cheats, will definitely be caught someday and he pointed out to the example of US sprinter Marion Jones.

"That is why we keep the samples for a long time. I don't need to tell you that Marion Jones competed at the Sydney Olympics (in 2000) full of drugs. But seven years later she admitted it and what happened after that was the right thing. She was stripped of her medals and other athletes were substituted and given her medals. That should happen here," Howman said.

India has had its fair share of troubles getting its athletes to abide by the anti-doping code. In the last few months, 12 Indian athletes from various disciplines like weightlifting, wrestling and athletics tested positive for the recently banned substance methylhexanamine.

The athletes pleaded innocence and pointed out that they had taken it inadvertently or were not informed by their respective national associations.

When quizzed whether the WADA was surprised by such admission from the athletes, Howman said: "From my point of view, nothing surprises me. We have had many examples of what I would say athletes who have been a little stupid because they know there is going to be a full testing program at events like this and yet they still take the risk.

"I don't understand it ... it is just one of those things that people do, take risks where they think they are going to get away with it, when they don't."

Howman made it clear that any amount of drug one takes, he will never be able to go scot-free with new systems being discovered regularly to identify drug cheats.

"Just because a small amount is detected, it doesn't mean they were not cheating. What you must remember is that you can take a steroid and it can be in your system for many weeks."

Harish Kotian New Delhi