|Friday, 11 July 2003|
Australian drug testers warn others to learn from ATP mess
SYDNEY, Thursday (AFP) - The Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA) says the ATP's doping scandal was a "big wake-up call" for other sporting bodies and elite athletes.
Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) admitted on Wednesday that seven players have tested positive for nandrolone and that their own staff may have been responsible for inadvertently supplying the banned steroid.
The governing body gave Czech player Bohdan Ulihrach the go-ahead to resume his career after he was cleared of doping after deciding the 28-year-old had been supplied with an electrolyte tablet by a tour trainer which contained traces of the substance. Ulihrach, ranked 68 in the world in 2000, was suspended for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in May after testing positive on October 3 at a tournament in Moscow.
ASDA chief executive John Mendoza on Thursday warned sports worldwide to take heed of the ATP's doping scandal.
Mendoza described the ATP bombshell as "a big, big wake-up call" for other sporting bodies and elite athletes.
He said the influx of Olympic or government sponsored institutions around the world made it imperative for coaches and medical staff to ensure they received guarantees detailing the exact contents of supplements.
"There's a message there," Mendoza said. "I am quite certain that there would be other sports, other institutes around the world, that have not been assessing this risk and putting in place the appropriate strategies.
"And they'll be taking up on the ATP experiences very quickly, I would think.
"They've got to be absolutely certain that the medical and paramedical support services to athletes are fully cognisant of their obligations under the anti-doping policy.
"That (they) are not inadvertently placing into athletes bodies, or in their food, anything that contains banned products.
"This is a big, big wake-up call."
Mendoza said the ATP's revelation once again highlighted the dangers of taking supplements.
"Supplement use is risky," the ASDA chief said. "We've had the results from laboratories overseas in Cologne and England - testing off-the-shelf supplements - and finding up to 15 percent of these products randomly selected contained banned substances, and about half of that number containing steroid substances.
"The message is very clear. Athletes cannot take supplements and expect they are not exposing themselves to risk."
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