Xenon gas moves closer to WADA ban

The use of xenon gas to boost performance, a method allegedly pioneered by Russian athletes, could be banned, the world anti-doping agency (WADA) said Friday.

Germany`s WDR television and other reports in February claimed that top Russian athletes had been using xenon at Olympic Games from Athens 2004 right up to the just completed Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

Inhaling the gas encourages the production in the body of the hormone Erythropoietin (EPO) which encourages the formation of red blood cells in the body to improve performance.

But WADA is set to crack down on its use.

"Xenon has been added to the draft 2015 Prohibited List," said WADA spokesman, Ben Nicholls.

"The draft List is open for consultation and for comments from stakeholders between now and the Executive Committee meeting in September, at which time it will be discussed once again and approved."

Russia`s athletes enjoyed a hugely successful Winter Games in Sochi, winning 13 gold medals and topping the final medals table.

The country until recent years had a dire reputation for the doping of athletes dating back to the Soviet system.

However Russia has now taken steps to clean up its act including the creation of its own anti-doping agency RUSADA.

According to a report in The Economist in early February, a document formulated by the research institute of the Russian defence ministry in 2010 set out guidelines for the administration of xenon gas to athletes.

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