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Olympic sports drug testing to intensify

Australian Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, represented Australia at latest meeting of the World Anti Doping Agency [WADA]and said out-of-competition testing would include all summer Olympic sports, some of which had not previously conducted such testing.

"This will place more pressure on drug cheats, giving athletes and the wider community increased confidence that all that can be done is being done to ensure the Sydney Olympics are the cleanest possible," Senator Vanstone said.

"WADA approved signing of a contract with a consortium to conduct the tests and approved a contract with international sporting federations. The Committee was advised that talks had already been conducted with most federations and that many were ready to sign, having already changed their own rules to allow the out-of-competition testing."

The meeting also agreed that WADA would take on the role of independent observer at the 2000 Olympics.

"This means the entire anti-doping process at the Games will be observed and reported on by WADA, again further increasing confidence in the drug-testing regime," Senator Vanstone said.

"Australia fully supports the role of WADA in monitoring Australia’s national drug testing program in the lead up to the Games to increase international confidence in its objectivity.

"The WADA meeting also has supported the proposed development of an athletes passport, with a pilot program to be undertaken in Australia and Canada. WADA will also examine the potential for storage of information in the athletes passport, possibly through a smart card."

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