Blood Test to Be Ready for Games


Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Published: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

The Federal Government has increased its commitment for the Sydney Olympics to more than $535 million, with extra funds for drug testing and elite sports. The Minister for Sport, Mrs Kelly, said funding had been made available to enable testing of Games athletes for the banned substance EPO.

In announcing that an extra $1 million would be handed to the Australian Sports Drug Agency, Mrs Kelly said yesterday that a blood test for artificial EPO was now “likely to be ready.” She said athletes competing in the Olympics would be subjected to the most stringent anti-doping measures ever.

“We won’t tolerate tracksuit fraud,” she said.

EPO, which until now has been undetectable, increases the number of red blood cells in the body. Oxygen levels are raised with resultant benefits in performance. An extensive research and testing program has already been carried out by an Australian-led team with funding assistance from the International Olympic Committee and the Federal Government.

The Budget also provides an extra $5 million to ensure the retention of coaches and other staff in elite sports after the Games.

In other Olympic-related expenditure, there will be an additional $1.6 million for the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service, which will be dealing with increased volumes of visitors, air and sea cargo and ships.

AQIS expects an additional 350,000 international tourists as well as 11 cruise ships, 60 super yachts and about 200 other yachts, which will be berthed in Sydney waters during the Games.

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