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  • Olympic Briefs -- IAAF Supports Whereabouts Rule; Pakistan Identifies Attackers


    The IAAF concedes reporting is time-consuming, but says that the new WADA testing system is fair. (Getty Images)
     The International Association of Athletic Federations and several high-profile athletes are backing the controversial whereabouts system that came into force Jan. 1.

    The IAAF released a statement Thursday saying the requirement for athletes to tell drugs testers where they will be for one hour every day of the week was “proportionately fair as well as absolutely mandatory for the effective fight against doping in sport.”

    Acknowledging the burden of the World Anti-Doping Agency's out-of-competition testing regime on athletes, the IAAF said it had been providing similar whereabouts information since as early as 1997.

    “It is only now in 2009 that many other sports, countries and athletes who have never had such a system in place, and rarely done any out-of-competition testing, are starting to realize the work involved and the effort the IAAF and its’ athletes have gone to over the previous decade,” the statement said.

    The IAAF release comes in the wake of criticism from sports stars such as tennis player Rafael Nadal and a group of Olympic and world champion rowers claiming WADA's whereabouts rule is impractical and an invasion of privacy.

    Track and field's governing body said its stakeholders, including member federations, sponsors, spectators and athletes, were constantly demanding the IAAF do all it can in the fight against doping. It provides about $2 million to fund its out-of-competition doping control program each year.

    And it rejected suggestions from FIFA and UEFA, football's governing bodies, for a holiday break from out-of-competition testing for athletes, noting that the detection windows for certain drugs of choice are a matter of days or hours.

    “As of today, any serious anti-doping program cannot even begin to suggest that athletes could have many weeks (let alone days) away, free in the knowledge they cannot be tested,” the statement said.
    The IAAF conceded that the process of providing whereabouts was “difficult and time-consuming” and backed concerns from clean athletes that they may be unfairly sanctioned for missing tests in an 18-month period.

    But there are extensive measures aimed to guard against unintentional whereabouts failures. Before any missed test is declared, the athlete is asked for their explanation as to how it occurred. In situations where it is clearly not the fault of the athlete then the missed test is waived. Athletes also have the right to appeal any decision of the IAAF regarding a missed test.

    The IAAF supported WADA President John Fahey's comments last week that the sports movement needs time get used to the new whereabouts rule.
    Support has come from the stars of track and field and the IAAF Athletes Commission.

    Britain's Paula Radcliffe, the marathon world record holder, said the system was fine and she had got used to it. “Obviously sometimes it can be a hassle and something I always have to remember but a small price to pay to work towards clean sport.

    “The IAAF always make it easy to change with texts or e-mails, ADAMS [reporting system] is a bit difficult to get used to but we can work together to make it more user-friendly.”

    “I stay up to date online. For urgent changes, text updates then modify online. What would really help is to access it [ADAMS] from Blackberry or iPhone for last minute updates.”

    “For truly international fair testing everywhere we need this. They [other sports] aren't used to such a strict system and their testing is behind that of athletics. They will catch up quickly.”

    Koji Murofushi, Japan's multiple Olympic medalist in hammer throwing, suggested the active measures taken against anti-doping in the track and field community in recent years would be a good model for other organizations.

    Pakistan Identifies Attackers

    Pakistani authorities announced they have identified the men who attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team on Tuesday.

    "We have identified the people who did the operation," provincial Governor Salman Taseer said at a press conference in Lahore, according to The Times of India.

    "We have a lot of information. We have arrested many people, rounded up some suspects... but the final investigation will be presented to me tomorrow; til then I am not in a position to
    Khusro Pervaiz, the commissioner for Lahore, admitted that security lapses led to Tuesday's attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. (Getty Images)
    say more."

    The officials also released sketches of four of the suspected gunmen.
    Up to 12 men ambushed the bus of the Sri Lankan team while it was en route to Gaddafi Stadium. They fired automatic weapons and fled the scene after killing eight people, and before the police could arrive.

    Thus far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

    Khusro Pervaiz, the commissioner for Lahore, issued a mea culpa, saying there were serious lapses in security that allowed the attacks to occur.

    "A terrorist has to succeed only once, whereas security has to be successful all the time. After every incident one gets wiser. You get to know all the gaps and how you should not repeat those gaps," he said.

    One of the umpires for the match, Chris Broad of England, claimed Pakistani authorities failed in their job to provide security.

    "We were promised high-level security and in our hour of need, that security vanished."
    Simon Taufel, an Australian umpire who was caught in the ambush had similarly harsh words.

    "You tell me why supposedly 20 armed commandos were in our convoy and when the team bus got going again, we were left on our own? I don't have any answers to these questions."

    Pakistan cricket chief Ijaz Butt called the accusations a “big lie” saying he would file a complaint with the International Cricket Council over the charges.

    Lebanon Ski Racer Tests Positive
    Lebanese ski racer Georges Salameh tested positive for cocaine at the recent FIS world championships in France. (Getty Images)
    for Cocaine

    The International Ski Federation said Thursday that Lebanese ski racer Georges Salameh failed a doping test during the world championships in Val d'Isere, France last month.

    The 33-year-old racer faces a ban after both 'A' and 'B' urine samples showed traces of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of the banned stimulant.

    FIS will consider whether to hand down a maximum two-year ban to the 33-year-old Salameh, who is the national champion of Lebanon in slalom and giant slalom.

    At the world championships, he competed in the qualification races in both disciplines but did not make it through to race in the main events. At the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006, he could only finish 43rd in slalom.

    Tony Khoury, the president of the Lebanese ski racing federation, defended Salameh, saying he was a devoted ski racer. He claimed the positive test could be the result of inadvertent contamination.

    IOC Pledges Support for Iranian Sport

    IOC President Jacques Rogge says Iran has plenty of room for improvement in the Olympics.

    Rogge met with Iranian NOC officials including President Mohammad Aliabadi and secretary general Bahram Afsharzadeh in Lausanne, Switzerland Monday.

    “Iran has a high-level position in the Olympics. Iranian civilization is in accordance with the spirit of Olympism. IOC will support Iran to achieve more success,” Rogge was quoted by the Tehran Times.

    Rogge praised the country's taekwondo star, Hadi Saei, and freestyle wrestler Morad Mohammadi, who won gold and bronze at the Beijing Olympics, adding: “Without a doubt, the Iranians have potential to achieve more and I am sure they can show a better performance in the next Olympics.”

    NOC officials also updated Rogge on the 2nd Islamic Solidarity Games, which take place in Tehran in October.

    Innsbruck Progresses Plans for 2012 YOG

    Organizers of the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games were in Lausanne Tuesday to discuss plans for the official IOC visit to the Austrian city March 17-18.

    CEO Martin Schnitzer spoke with officials in the IOC's Youth Olympics department to prepare for the orientation seminar in Innsbruck.

    Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli and the IOC's Head of the Youth Olympic Games, Essar Gabriel, will participate in the seminar. IOC coordination commission chair Gian Franco Kasper may also be attending.

    On the first day, IOC officials will present their ideas for the YOG.

    “This primarily aims to include stakeholders and important persons of the city and the state to give them a deeper insight [on the YOG],” Innsbruck 2012 spokesman Hannes Maschkan tells ATR.

    More detailed planning and discussion of the next steps for the Austrian YOG organizers will take place on day two.

    With reporting from Mark Bisson.
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