Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bring it: HGH test ready to catch cheats at Beijing Games

HGH test ready to catch cheats at Beijing Games

New test `scientifically sound,' says WADA chief
Feb 28, 2008 04:30 AM
An "effective" test for detecting human growth hormone will be in place for the Beijing Olympics, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency said yesterday in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"By the Olympic Games there will be a capacity to detect HGH," WADA president John Fahey said. "There is no doubt that there is an effective test."

HGH is considered one of the most widely abused performance-enhancing drugs in sports, and experts say athletes have been able to use the substance with little fear of being caught. Fahey said traces of the drug could also be frozen and stored in samples for up to eight years, meaning users could still be caught and punished years later.

"Scientists will say very clearly that the storage of plasma is capable of being tested effectively eight years," Fahey said. "It is scientifically sound."

So far, HGH has been extremely hard to detect, partly because it clears the system very quickly. A test was used at the 2004 Athens and 2006 Turin Olympics but yielded no positives because athletes using it would have stopped in time to make sure it cleared the system beforehand. The latest development should allow for more routine testing out of competition.

More at the Toronto Star

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