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GPS tracking for athletes?

Two Swedish Olympic track and field champions, Carolina Klüft, heptathlon, and Stefan Holm, high jump, have come out in support of the idea of having athletes implanted with GPS chips to more easily track their whereabouts for antidoping controls.

"I have suggested earlier that you could operate a data chip under the skin on athletes on a certain level. Or maybe use a chain ring with a GPS transmitter on the training bag. Then everyone would know where to find us for tests. I wouldn't complain. I think we are obligated to accept most things to stop doping," said Klüft who won the women's pentathlon gold in Athens 2004. "You are so supervised anyway so it wouldn't make much of a difference.

"That would be the easiest way even though it sounds science fiction and absurd," said high jump champion Stefan Holm.

The idea of GPS implants was debated earlier this year by Australian blood doping expert Michael Ashenden on an Icelandic forum in November. Ashenden described the merits of implementing the system on the forum, "With the GPS system you can establish the precise whereabouts of the athlete. If the athlete is not in the position the location system says when NADA (National Anti Doping Agency) wants to take a test, then he must be penalized."

It is the same as the old way, where the athletes have to inform the anti-doping authorities of their whereabouts 24 hours a day, and be in a certain place at a certain time every day where they can be located."

Ashenden went on to opine that the system would be inexpensive and no more intrusive than the current system. This year saw the most famous case of whereabouts violations occur when Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen was dismissed from his team mid-race for lying about his training locations prior to the Tour.

Tomas Nilsson contributed to this report.

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