Ex-Olympic champion Kirsty Coventry wants 24/7 testing

Zimbabwe`s two-time Olympic 200m backstroke champion Kirsty Coventry says the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) should bring in 24/7 testing and more lifetime bans amidst the latest accusations of mass doping in athletics.

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 02, 2015, 20:13 PM IST
Ex-Olympic champion Kirsty Coventry wants 24/7 testing

Kazan: Zimbabwe`s two-time Olympic 200m backstroke champion Kirsty Coventry says the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) should bring in 24/7 testing and more lifetime bans amidst the latest accusations of mass doping in athletics.

WADA said Sunday it is "very alarmed" by the latest accusations made by German broadcaster ARD involving Kenyan and Russian athletes just three weeks before the start of the world athletics championships in Beijing.

Coventry, who won 200m backstroke gold at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and has also accrued four silver and one bronze medal at the Olympics, has been an outspoken advocate of clean sport and the 31-year-old is a member of WADA`s Athlete Committee.

At the moment, sportsmen and women can only be subject to random drugs tests during specific hours, but Coventry says only the ability to test sportsmen and women day and night will help catch cheats.

The African swimmer, also winner of three long course world titles and five silver medals to boot, believes anyone caught cheating does not deserve a second chance to compete after serving a ban.

"Most of the athlete commission members come from the mind-set that we`d love to have life-long bans," said Coventry, who is racing at the world swimming championships here.

"We know the legality which that would cause so it would have to be on a case-by-case basis.

"For me, athletes have to be able to be tested over 24 hours, no matter what time.

"As an athlete, that`s part of the job description.

"In every job, there is something which we hate doing and this is just part of being an athlete.

"Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who will try and get an edge.

"The Olympic platform allows people to show off their talent, but as a natural human being not as someone who is drugged up."

With Russia currently hosting the world aquatic championships until next Sunday, Coventry admitted the latest accusations come at an embarrassing time for the hosts.

Last December, German broadcaster ARD accused Russia of covering up failed doping tests by their athletes at national and international level, using a former official at the Russian anti-doping agency, Rusada, as a source.

"We posed the question to WADA about the Russian testing commission and from what I gather a lot of people were taken out of positions with new people put in," said Coventry.

"At some point, you have to have faith in the system, which I have to a point.

"With all of the allegations coming out, there needs to be a Plan B overseeing things and that doesn`t necessarily have to come from WADA.

"That should be something separate.

"It makes me angry that there are swimmers here who have failed a doping test more than once.

"I am one of the athletes on the committee who wants life-time bans.

"If you are caught doping once, I don`t know why you should get another chance.

"At least there should be special criteria for those who have already failed a drugs test so they get looked at more often, middle of the night, whatever.

"I think there should be another step added, like parole."