`Guangzhou Asiad to have largest-ever number of dope tests`
The 16th Asian Games in the city of Guangzhou this month will have the "largest-ever number" of dope tests in the event`s history, a top anti-doping official here has claimed.
"We will have about 1,500 urine samples and 200 blood samples during the Asian Games," said Zhao Jian, deputy director general of the China Anti-doping Agency (CHINADA), who is in charge of doping control for the Asiad.
"The number is a record for the Asian Games and we will start work on November 6," he was quoted as saying by the official media here.
The Games will take place from Nov 12 to 27 in Guangzhou. Chinese official say the event will attract about 11,700 athletes from 45 countries who will compete for 476 gold medals.
During the Doha Asian Games four years ago, about 1,200 samples were tested and blood testing was introduced for the first time.
All the urine samples for the Asian Games will be sent to CHINADA`s laboratory in Beijing, which carried out the doping tests for the 2008 Olympic Games.
The samples will be flown to Beijing each day. Like the Beijing Games, negative results will be reported within 24 hours of its arrival at the lab while positive results will be reported within 48 hours.
"During the Guangzhou Asian Games, there will be about 100 staff working for the doping control and about 30 staff in the lab," Zhao said.
"The doping control and tests will be conducted along Olympic standards as we upgraded two thirds of our facilities before the Beijing Games," he said.
"Three foreign experts will also work in the laboratory and the management system for all the samples and results will be in accordance with the rules. Athletes from all the countries and regions can be at ease that the process will be conducted fairly," he said.
Chinese officials say utmost importance will be accorded to a clean doping record. To ensure the Chinese athletes have clean home Games, all members of the team will receive strict anti-doping training, examinations and drug tests before entering the Asian Games Village.
"For the Guangzhou Asian Games, China will send its largest-ever delegation and one of the priorities for the squad is to be clean at the Games," Zhao said.
"Starting in September, experts from CHINADA went to give lectures and supervise the examinations of athletes at all the training bases across the country. Athletes could only qualify for the Asian Games if they passed the paper examination and the drug tests," Zhao said.
The access system requires all athletes training for the Asian Games to attend anti-doping lectures and pass a written examination.
An access system manual was also given to China team members. They had to write down what they learned from the lectures and keep records of doping tests and medicine taken in a personal manual.
They also had to sign a letter of commitment in the manual, along with their coaches and team leaders.
"This is the first time we have applied such a well-planned access system before such a big event. No one can escape such tests," he said.
Besides education and exams, all the athletes will be tested for drugs without prior notification.
"We have conducted drug tests here for all the athletes that will compete in Guangzhou. For those who are competing abroad right now, they will receive their tests as soon as they come back," he said.
"All the athletes have to be proved clean before moving into the Asian Games Village. Athletes and coaches who have dirty records in doping tests will have no chance to represent China in Guangzhou," he said.
Up to now, Zhao`s agency has conducted more than 10,000 doping tests on Chinese athletes this year, but some top athletes have still tested positive on the international stage.
In May, Chinese judoka Tong Wen, the champion in the women`s over 78kg class at the Beijing Olympics, was suspended for two years for a positive test for clenbuterol, which can boost muscles like an anabolic steroid.
Then, Li Fuyu, the nation`s most prominent professional road cyclist and a Radioshack teammate of US legend Lance Armstrong, was confirmed as having failed a test for the same substance in August.
Both of them claimed to be innocent, complaining about tainted pork they ate. Zhao said dubious food should not be an excuse for testing positive and all athletes should be very disciplined about what they ingest.
"Professional athletes should pay extreme attention to their food and drinks it is their responsibility," said Zhao.
"I don`t think they can blame tainted food. If the food is a problem, why did others who ate it not fail? It`s very easy for the athletes to lose themselves in the face of the wealth and glory they gain by winning. It`s difficult for athletes to find the balance between competing fairly and chasing the rewards. We still have a long way to go in the education of athletes. I hope the efforts we make for the Asian Games will benefit them in the future."