By Andrew Steele

BORLANGE, Reuter: Sports officials from more than 30 countries declared war ‘on doping on Sunday. Taking the first steps towards forging a program of random drugs testing for athletes

At the start of a four-day anti-doping conference in this central Swedish town, delegates pledged to hammer out a workable and simple testing plan to thwart the drug-taking cheats within top-level sport

“We will not pay lip-service to the problem, we need measurers which can be simply and effectively applied for every sport in any country.” said conference chairman Sir Arthur gold of Britain.

The Borlange meeting, organized by the 35-nation European sports conference is the first time that East and West have met to tackle the problem officials said

It is also being attended by observers from China, the United States, Kenya and Canada

The meeting is expected to present a blueprint for out-of-competition and random testing which will make it impossible for athletes to use banned substances during training.

At the moment, many athletes design a doping program which will ensure a negative test after major competitions

Officials said steps were essential to clean up sport’s image after the drugs scandals of the Seoul Olympic Games.

Ten athletes were caught using banned substances, the most notable culprit being Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, forced to hand back his 100 meters Gold medal after traces of muscle promoting anabolic steroids were found in his urine sample.

But Gold warned that Johnson’s case was only the tip of the iceberg

Only the careless and the ill-advised were caught, many others had stopped using banned drugs long enough before the games to deliver negative samples.” Gold added,

The proposals from the Borlange meeting which ends on Wednesday, will be presented to the ninth European sports conference, to be held next year in Sofia

They are expected to be tougher that the recommendations made at the world conference on Anti-doping in sport in Ottawa last June, which recommended frequent testing ‘of athletes

The Ottawa charter fell short of calling for totally random testing, because of difficulties in defending the system and to prevent unnecessary intrusions into athlete’s personal lives.

Current methods provide for testing only ‘at major events although out-of-competition testing has been introduced by some sports federations in a small number of countries.

The Borlange blueprint is expected to be discussed at an anti-doping meeting in Moscow next month, to be attended by sports ministers from member countries of the U.N. educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO).

Article extracted from this publication >> November 11, 1988