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WADA head says Beijing athletes can't count on beating HGH tests

BEIJING -- The new president of the World Anti-Doping Agency cautioned athletes who think they can get around the new tests for HGH that will be used at the Beijing Olympics.

WADA announced this month that tests for human growth hormone -- one of the more widely abused substances in sports -- will be administered before and during the Aug. 8-24 Olympics.

"There is this belief that you can manage it [HGH] out of your system very quickly," WADA president John Fahey said Wednesday. "I don't think any athletes who wish to cheat should put any faith in that statement any longer."

Fahey declined to say how many HGH tests would be carried out. Overall, the IOC and Beijing organizers have announced they will conduct 4,500 doping tests, the vast majority urine tests. HGH testing involves blood samples.

The window for detecting HGH had been limited to a 48- to 72-hour period, giving athletes a chance to avoid detection by stopping use in time for traces to clear their system. Fahey suggested the new test would detect use over a longer period.

He declined to elaborate, saying athletes "ought not to be aware of what their odds are. I prefer to stay in generalities. They shouldn't believe in conventional wisdom, because it's no longer wisdom."

A test for HGH was introduced at the 2004 Athens Olympics and was used at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin. No positive tests for HGH were recorded.

"I suppose my greatest fear is that cheats get away with it," Fahey said. "What I want is an effective system that will find the cheats."