London 2012 Olympics to be toughest ever for dopers

Updated: Sep 13, 2011, 12:54 PM IST

London: Scientist heading anti-doping operations for the 2012 London Olympics has warned that the event will be the toughest for dopers as about 6,000 tests would be conducted during the games.

Professor David Cowan strongly indicated that a new test to detect blood doping could be held at the games for the first time.

Scientists have so far failed to devise an effective test for detecting autologous blood doping, in which several high- profile Olympic athletes have indulged over the past 30 years, the BBC reports.

Autologous blood doping increases the number of red blood cells and gives a substantial boost to an athlete`s endurance by allowing them to carry more oxygen

Cowan said the new test would compare the age of blood samples by looking at the genetic component of red blood cells.

"We`re working on a scheme where the nuclear material, not in the nucleus itself, but the RNA material in the cell has been shown to change and we are hoping that using those markers we`ll be able to distinguish stored blood from blood that`s in your body naturally," he said.

Though Cowan did not confirm that the autologous doping test would be available by next summer, he strongly hinted that it would be ready in time.

"I would never guarantee what we can deliver by a particular time, that`s the nature of research, we`re working very quickly on this, the progress is very exciting. I would put it the other way round, if you`re an athlete be careful - we may have a test in time," he said.