sport

WADA worry over small doses

Drugs cheats are increasingly using small doses of banned substances that are undetectable within a matter of hours, an anti-doping chief says.

The small doses of drugs such as synthetic testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH) and the blood-boosting agent EPO can still give athletes an edge but are much harder to detect from analysis of blood and urine samples.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) hopes the introduction of a new 'steroid passport' system, which will work in a similar way to the biological passport which detects changes in athletes' blood, may help target even small quantities of banned drugs.

WADA director general David Howman said: "There's a list of things we have to keep an eye on and one of these is the continuing development of designer drugs and the other is that people are using smaller doses.

"In some cases these smaller doses can be undetectable in three, four or five hours and just give a little edge to the athlete.

"We have to be alert to what cheats might be doing and it is an example of why we can't rely entirely on science and have to look at other ways, such as intelligence gathering."

Meanwhile, it has emerged that WADA wanted to visit Jamaica this week after claims by a former leading official of its anti-doping commission JADCO, that there had been numerous problems and a lack of adequate testing.

Jamaica's prime minister Portia Simpson-Miller had contacted WADA and provided reassurances but after Howman asked to visit on October 15 and 16, he was told JADCO could not accommodate him until next year.

WADA said in a statement: "WADA has accepted an invitation from the Prime Minister of Jamaica to visit and inspect JADCO. WADA was unhappy to learn that JADCO cannot accommodate this visit until 2014."

A statement from Simpson-Miller, who is also sports minister, in the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper welcomed a WADA inspection.

The statement said: "Such a visit is welcomed, as Jamaica seeks to maintain its unwavering commitment to integrity in sport. We are happy for all the technical support WADA and the IAAF have provided and continue to provide in order that our systems will become first rate."