WADA chief praises cycling for blood testing

The World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey has praised cycling for taking the initiative to incorporate more blood testing in its anti-doping regime, and has called on the other Olympic sports to follow cycling's example.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Fahey decried the low number of blood tests in sport worldwide, noting that in 2010, out of some quarter of a million controls taken, only about 5,000 were blood samples. The rest were urine, which is less intrusive to collect and cheaper to transport and process.

However, blood testing is the only way to detect some performance enhancing drugs such as human growth hormone (HGH).

"What we're seeing happening is another disappointment to us," Fahey said. "Sports generally are not spending enough on anti-doping agencies and not putting enough blood testing forward. That being the case, I suspect HGH cheats are getting away with it. What is an effective and robust program? It's a hell of a lot more than 2 percent of the samples being blood samples. It's probably got to be 15 percent, or maybe 20 percent blood samples to be effective."

WADA's goal is to make sure blood samples make up at least 10 per cent of all controls, but so far only cycling has come close.

"Cycling had a very bad record going back ten years or so ago," Fahey said. "They have at least stopped denying the problem, and worked with a program to deal with the problem."

In 2011, the UCI collected nearly a third of its 13,057 doping controls as blood samples, but the article did not note the percentage of blood samples taken strictly for the biological passport or how many were actually tested for HGH.

To date, there has only been one HGH positive in cycling, that of Patrick Sinkewitz, although other athletes have either been punished for trafficking in the drug or admitted to using it.


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