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WADA, Interpol nearing agreement on doping enforcement

SYDNEY, Australia -- Interpol and the World
Anti-Doping Agency are close to signing an agreement as part of
a strategy to stop drug trafficking in sports.

WADA president John Fahey said on Wednesday he had met with
officials from the world's largest international police
organization in France earlier this year and that the two
bodies wanted to start trading information about drug
trafficking.

"We're very close to signing a memorandum of understanding
for information sharing with Interpol which, of course, is a
body which collects data and shares information with police
enforcement agencies around the world," Fahey told a news
conference in Sydney.

"We believe we've got some commonalities and common purpose
and sharing information in the area of drugs, and in our case
performance-enhancing drugs.

"Sometimes there is a belief that some of those
performance-enhancing drugs might emanate from the same place
as illegal drugs."

WADA director-general David Howman said the Interpol
agreement was all part of WADA's wider strategy to involve
governments and enforcement agencies in the fight against drugs
in sport.

Howman said Marion Jones' prison sentence for lying about
steroid use proved how effective cooperation between government
and anti-doping agencies can be in the fight against drugs in
sport, but said much more needs to be done.

WADA is staging a two-day symposium in Sydney this week to
investigate new ways of sharing information with governments
and plans to present its findings at its next meeting in
Montreal later this month.

"There are other ways of detecting the cheats and Marion
Jones is a good example," Howman said.

"We can see now that for little money those who are already
carrying out their jobs under national legislation and so forth
can gather evidence, share it with sport and make sure that
those who are cheating are sanctioned.

"That's the outcome we're trying to achieve."

Fahey, a former Australian politician, also issued a blunt
warning to prospective drug cheats at this year's Beijing
Olympics, promising an unprecedented crackdown by drug testers.

He said more than 4,500 tests would be carried out in
Beijing, including a new and improved test for
once-undetectable human growth hormone.

"I was impressed with the state of readiness [in Beijing],
I certainly detected a level of expertise that can deal with
whatever they have to deal with over the course of the games,"
he said.

"There will be more tests this time than ever before and I
think I can be very confident as WADA has evolved and got
better in its expertise in the past eight years or so there
will be a much more effective outcome in dealing with anyone
who seeks to cheat.

"In the battle with the scientists, there's little doubt
that the scientists who are actually working for the white
knights are getting better all the time and countering the
scientists who are working with the other side.

"There were certain years with certain drugs that allowed
athletes to believe that if they cut it out in the days leading
up to the games they could get away with it.

"They should not be sure of that anymore. We are better now
at detecting over longer periods."