FINA get tough on doping

International swimming body to conduct exhaustive doping tests at upcoming world championships.

    FINA get tough on doping
    The number of in-competition tests could rise if world records are broken [GETTY]

    The international swimming federation will conduct more than 800 doping tests at the world championships.

    FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu said Friday that 485 athletes will be given surprise blood tests in Barcelona in the days before competition and another 320 will undergo either blood or urine tests during the event, which starts Friday and runs to August 4.

    "I hope we have records and no positive tests,'' Marculescu said.

    "The most important issue for us is the investment in out-of-competition tests. When (athletes) come here, they know what is going to happen.''

    A total of 2,293 athletes are participating in the biennial competition that includes swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and the new discipline of high diving.

    Comprehensive testing

    Marculescu said all the medallists will be tested and that the final number of in-competition tests could rise if world records are set.

    The other athletes tested during the competition will be selected by a board made up of three members, two from FINA and one from the local organising committee.

    FINA will incorporate the findings into its biological passport program, which started last year with 30 top competitors and has increased to 500. The passport program monitors an athlete's blood profile over time to look for any signs of doping.

    FINA president Julio Maglione said that the top 50 athletes in each discipline are now tested a minimum of three times a year.

    "FINA implemented the passport very strongly,'' said Marculescu, adding that the program costs $1.5 million annually.

    "It's a process started a year and a half ago and the doping review board is working on this. It's very important to have this to identify when a problem began.''



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