Rogge vows tough line on age, drug cheats

Singapore: International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge on Wednesday vowed a tough line on anyone taking drugs or lying about their age at this year’s Youth Olympic Games.

Singapore hosts the inaugural event for 14 to 18-year-olds in August and Rogge has spent the past three days inspecting stadiums and being updated on preparations.

He said the same doping standards used at the winter and summer Olympics would be applied in Singapore.

“The fight against doping has always been my number one priority and we have shown that we mean business in the traditional Olympic Games, both winter and summer,” said Rogge, the innovator behind the Youth Olympics.

“We are going to apply exactly the same rules for the Youth Olympic Games as we do for the traditional Olympic Games.

“We are also going to put a lot of energy into our cultural and educational programme about the prevention of doping because this is the age category that is the most important one in terms of doping prevention.”

Education and cultural activities for the athletes will be an integral part of the Games, running in tandem with the sport.

“The most defining thing for me about these Games is the association between elite sport and culture and education,” Rogge said.

“It is a thing that for many reasons we are not able to do at traditional Olympics. We had the opportunity to do that here and that is very important.”

The Belgian emphasised that the event should not be just about winning.

“It must be fun, it cannot be too serious. The athletes are between 14 and 18 years old and that is the age to celebrate, not necessarily the age to achieve.”

But he warned the IOC would not tolerate anyone cheating by faking their age to meet entry requirements, as has happened at Olympics in the past.

“It is true that in the past there has been cheating both by pretending that they were older, in sports like gymnastics, or by pretending they were younger than the age category in some team sports,” he said.

“We definitely are going to follow that. We will be relying very much on the National Olympic Committees and the national federations because they are running sport on a day-to-day basis.

“If we suspect any cheats, we will be tough, there’s no doubt about that.”

Bureau Report