Tuesday, October 16, 2018
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Doping hangs over Olympics before they even begin


afp
Paris/Pyeongchang
The casual viewer of the Pyeongchang Olympics could be forgiven for wondering just how many athletes are doped after a raft of recent revelations in winter sports, despite"every effort"to crack down.
Endurance sports such as cross-country skiing and biathlon have come under the most scrutiny, but -- much like the Summer Olympics -- no discipline has been completely unscathed in the build-up to the Games, which open on Friday.
Russian athletes deemed"clean"will compete under a neutral flag after their country was banned for a well-orchestrated drugs cheating system four years ago that allegedly had links all the way to the Kremlin.
Speaking on the eve of the Games in South Korea, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Craig Reedie attempted to assuage the concerns of athletes who fear their rivals could dope their way to gold.
There had been"very substantial"testing ahead of the Games, he said, adding:"I hope (that) will give the athletes comfort that they are in a fair and honest competition."
But recent Winter Games reveal grounds for scepticism.
Ahead of the Olympics, British newspaper the Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD said they had been passed a database showing that more than 50 cross-country skiers set to compete in South Korea returned abnormal readings between 2001 and 2010.

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