Tue, Aug 21, 2007 - Page 19 News List

IAAF's Diack striving to keep up anti-doping fight

DPA , OSAKA, JAPAN

Lamine Diack stands for re-election as president at the Congress of the world governing athletics body IAAF tomorrow and Thursday, with doping another main topic on the agenda.

The absence of double sprint world champion Justin Gatlin of the US from the Osaka world championships for cheating is a visible sign that the drugs issue still plagues the high-profile sport.

Slovenian 800m runner Jolanda Ceplak also has to stay at home for doping, the affair around women's hammer throw world record holder Tatyana Lysenko cost Russian head coach Valery Kiluchenko his job, while Bulgarians Venelina Veneva and Vanya Stambolova are also suspended pending a decision in their case.

In order to deter cheaters at the championships from Saturday to next Sunday, the IAAF will carry out more than 1,000 doping tests, eclipsing the previous mark of 885 tests from the 2005 edition in Helsinki.

"We will not tell the athletes what tests we will conduct, nor when," said Diack, adding the program showed "our ongoing and aggressive commitment to the war on doping."

"We know that the overwhelming majority of our athletes compete fairly, so it is for their sake that we must do all we can to chase down and sanction those who attempt to cheat and lie through the use of doping practices," he said.

Diack also said that samples would be stored for future examinations if deemed necessary.

The IAAF has already conducted more than 1,000 of its 3,000 tests planned for this year.

Some US$2.8 million has been spent on anti-doping measures this year, Diack said.

Elections are the other key issue in the two-day congress ahead of the worlds, with the women's quota in the influential council to be raised and former stars like Coe, Sergey Bubka and Alberto Juantorena running for vice-president in what appears to be the testing ground for future presidential ambitions.

But first the Senegalese Diack stands unopposed for a third and final term as IAAF boss since taking the job after the death of Italy's Primo Nebiolo in 1999.

Diack said in a personal manifesto published last week he aimed to "recapture the interest and imagination of young people, boost the television and commercial reach of the sport and build a competition structure for the future."

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