WADA hails China's anti-doping progress

Updated: 2012-06-18 13:55


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HAIYANG, Shandong Province - China has done "very well" in the fight against doping and should share its experience and expertise with other parts of Asia, said a senior official of World Anti-doping Agency (WADA).

"I'm happy with the progress shown by China Anti-doing Agency (CHINADA)," David Howman, director general of WADA, told Xinhua on Sunday night during his visit to the ongoing 3rd Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, East China's Shandong province.

As an independent national anti-doping organization, CHINADA was established in 2007 with a world-class laboratory.

Howman said he was also impressed by China's education program for elite athletes, and would like to have it introduced to other countries and regions during a WADA conference in September.

As for problems China is facing, he said: "There's always room for improvement, of course. As a big country that has so many athletes, China needs to develop its own model, which is difficult."

That model may well include teaching people in other parts of Asia about anti-doping knowledge and sharing its expertise.

"It's important for strong countries to do that," Howman said.

Meanwhile, Howman also talked about the focus of future anti-doping endeavor. WADA is working hard on an Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program, a new cost-efficient approach to fight against illegal use of performance enhancing substances in sports.

The ABP, currently adopted by a number of countries and regions including China, will document a profile featuring the selected biological variables such as blood that indirectly reveal the effects of doping.

In addition, WADA is looking to Interpol and border-control agencies for information that may help reveal doping cases.

"We don't want to solely rely on science. We want to spread to these areas to make sure there's no drug cheats," said Howman.

When asked whether WADA would consider introducing a threshold level for clenbuterol, an illegal feed addictive that may enter an athlete's system via tainted meat, Howman said they will never do that to avoid possible drug cheats.

Last year, Chinese Olympic judo gold medallist Tong Wen won her appeal against a two-year ban for failing a clenbuterol test. She blamed the positive test results on eating contaminated meat, as the substance is known in China as the "lean meat powder" to make pigs grow more muscle to boost sales.

A couple of experts used to propose a change in WADA's evaluation of the drug last September, but the propose was rejected.

According to Howman, WADA have allowed measurement variations among accredited labs, but a minimum threshold level may provide some athletes with excuses to deny their doping deeds.

"We will enhance the regular and consistent checks on those labs to promote our sensitivities of test instead of changing the policies," Howman said.