Olympic Drug Probe Collapses

Published July 6th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Plans to investigate allegations of widespread drug use by Australia's Olympic competitors collapsed Thursday when a self-confessed drugs cheat refused to divulge the names of involved people. 

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates told a press conference he had pleaded with Australia's top discus thrower Werner Reiterer to give evidence into his claims that high-ranking officials turned a blind-eye to his drug-taking. 

Reiterer, who joined Coates at the press conference, has also claimed some top Australian swimmers may be using banned drugs. 

Coates said he had offered legal immunity but Reiterer had assured him the officials concerned were no longer involved in the Olympic movement. 

Coates said as a result, an investigation by Judge Tricia Kavanagh had been abandoned, although he said the door was always open if Reiterer changed his mind. 

"I have not been silenced in any way," the 32-year-old Reiterer said. 

"The officials no longer hold positions in or will have a future role in Australian teams." 

Reiterer would not deny Australian athletes on drugs might compete at the Sydney Olympics. 

"I don't know if they will make the team or not," he said. 

Reiterer said that without proof, in the form of a positive drug test, he could not point the finger at any other athlete and there was no proof because no tests had been approved to detect drugs like muscle-building human growth hormone (HGH) or stamina-improving EPO. 

And Coates said he could give no guarantees Australia would not have any drugs cheats at the Games which start Sept 15. 

However, he warned any athlete found guilty of drug-taking would have to pay back their funding. 

The Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA) had earlier admitted sports officials could tip-off athletes about imminent drug tests. 

It said the difficulty in finding an athlete selected for a test was compounded when they were changing addresses or training overseas - (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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