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IOC reports more doping failures pre-Rio

The International Olympic Committee reported 45 new doping failures on Friday from the 2008 Games in Beijing and London 2012, bringing the total number of positive drug test to 98 since a retesting programme was launched.

IOC reports more doping failures pre-Rio
President Thomas Bach said the retesting showed the IOC's commitment to fight doping. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Lausanne-based IOC, facing one of its worst ever doping crises that could see sporting powerhouse Russia banned from the Rio Games, has reanalyzed more than 1,200 samples, with the emphasis on past medal winners.
   
Reporting results from its second wave of retests, the IOC said there were 30 “Provisional Adverse Analytical Findings” from competitors in Beijing 2008 and 15 “Adverse Analytical Findings” among London 2012 Olympians.
   
Within the Beijing group, 23 were medallists. The 30 positive results came from eight countries and four sports.
   
The second wave of retests from London included 138 samples. The 15 positive tests were from nine countries and two sports.
   
The IOC noted however that a provisional finding can be reversed on closer examination. Two provisional positives from the first wave of Beijing tests announced in May were ultimately not deemed conclusive.
   
“The new reanalysis once again shows the commitment of the IOC in the fight against doping,” Olympics president Thomas Bach said in a statement.
   
The IOC has said the retesting programme followed “intelligence-gathering” that began last year.
   
The IOC was not able to identify the athletes concerned, citing legal reasons.
   
The individuals, national Olympic committees and sports federations have been privately informed, however, the IOC added.
   
“All athletes found to have infringed the anti-doping rules will be banned from competing (in Rio),” the statement continued.
   
The third and fourth rounds of re-analysis will be carried out during after the Games in Brazil, which start in two weeks.
   
Following the first wave of retests, Russia admitted that eight of its athletes from London 2012 were implicated.
   
Whether Russian Olympians tested positive in the second round, the new results may pile more pressure on the IOC as it faces making the unprecedented move of banning an entire country from a Games over doping.
   
Two reports from the World Anti Doping Agency have detailed rampant, state-run drug cheating by Russia, affecting 30 sports.
   
Russia's track and field team has already been banned from Rio by governing body IAAF.
   
But a dozen global anti-doping agencies and several national Olympic committees have urged the IOC to take exemplary action and rule all Russian competitors ineligible for the Rio.
   
The IOC said a decision could be made on Sunday.

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DRUGS

Switzerland green lights recreational marijuana trial

Switzerland’s National Council has approved a plan to start cannabis trials for recreational use. If it is to be legalised however, the government says it must be organic and grown locally.

Switzerland green lights recreational marijuana trial
Photo: MLADEN ANTONOV / AFP

The study, which was approved by the National Council on Tuesday, hopes to find out more about the effects that a controlled legalisation of the drug would have in Switzerland. 

The decision to embark upon the trial was to be made in March but was delated due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The experiments are to be carried out in Switzerland’s larger cities. Basel, Bern, Biel, Geneva and Zurich have all expressed interest in conducting the trials. 

The study wants to understand how the market for cannabis works – and how to combat the black market. The social effects of legalisation are also set to be studied. 

“The models must be tested before starting the debate on whether or not to liberalise cannabis,” said Pierre-Yves Maillard (Social Democrats), a spokesperson for the responsible committee. 

Only people who currently use cannabis – and can prove it – will be allowed to participate. Proof will be determined through a hair sample. 

‘Organic and Swiss’

Although legalisation is not a foregone conclusion, the National Council added that if cannabis was to be legalised it must be locally grown in Switzerland – and must be organic. 

Minister of Health Alain Berset said that a legalisation should benefit Swiss farmers even though “very few producers have experience in this area”, Berset said. 

200,000 cannabis users in Switzerland

An estimated 200,000 people smoke cannabis products in Switzerland. Those in favour of the new trial argue that this shows the war on drugs has failed – and that legalisation will 

Since 2011, the sale of cannabis products containing up to one percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the ingredient that makes users high – has been legal in Switzerland.

Regular strength cannabis and other associated products such as hashish are also illegal, although small amounts (less than ten grams) are decriminalised and will only attract a 100 franc on-the-spot fine. 

A poll by the World Health Organisation showed that more teenagers smoked in Switzerland than in any other European country, with 27 percent of 15 year olds having smoked at least once. 

The use of cannabis for medical purposes is also heavily restricted in Switzerland, with only one product – CBD oil – legally available for sale. 

 

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