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German group calls for eliminating B samples

A German sports medicine group has called for the elimination of the B sample in doping controls, calling it "anachronistic". The German National Anti-Doping Agency opposed the proposal.

Jürgen H. Steinacker of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sportmedizin und Prävention (BGSP, German Society for Sport Medicine and Prevention) said, "The B samples increase the legal uncertainty and the income of lawyers." He added that the samples sometimes "fly around the world for three weeks without being cooled," according to the dpa press agency.

"That is not so," contradicted German NADA spokeswoman Ulrike Spitz. "There is a worldwide standard for A and B samples, they are always sent together." Hans Geyer of the anti-doping laboratory in Cologne, Germany, called the proposal "an absolute step back and a violation of athletes' rights."

B samples are sent to a different laboratory from the A sample only upon the express wish of the athlete, and that is a rare occurrence, Spitz said. And in 99 percent of the cases, both samples give the same result.

According to the DGSP, the B sample "takes up time and money and hurts the results of the fight against doping." DGSP President Herbert Lollgen said that the results "are often manipulated" and can deliver false negatives when the samples are held or transported too long before testing.

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