LONDON (Reuters) - The commitment of stretched national governments to keep pumping cash into stamping out drug cheats won praise from the World Anti-Doping Agency on Wednesday, two days before the official opening of the London Olympics.
WADA said the programme of screening in the run up to the Olympics had been extensive, involving more than 70,000 tests over the last six months, and that new, more-rigorous laboratory analysis was now being used.
The comments came as Moroccan 1,500 metre runner Mariem Alaoui Selsouli was revealed to have tested positive for a banned diuretic, ruling her out of the Games.
Nine track and field athletes have also been banned for doping violations, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on Wednesday.
While acknowledging the agency faces an uncertain financial future and that funding for research was vital to keeping ahead of drug cheats, WADA President John Fahey said there was a clear commitment from governments to support anti-doping efforts.
“The fact that at the height of the global financial crisis, which was probably last year, we found we received more money than a few years earlier... (that shows) they are recognising that they can’t shirk responsibility,” Fahey said at a news conference in London.
“It was lovely to see Greece pay up. With all of what we read of the difficulties that country has had, it was fantastic to see that commitment.”
A newly-approved and more effective test for the banned human growth hormone drug, a common performance-enhancer, will be in use at the Games.
Nevertheless, WADA said there would inevitably be athletes in London who use banned drugs.
“There’s no such thing as a magic bullet in anti-doping,” Fahey said.
Reporting by William James, editing by Mark Meadows