Blood testing for erythropoietin (EPO), a stamina-boosting substance, will go ahead at the Commonwealth Games with officials especially targeting track and field, cycling, triathlon and some endurance swimming events.
Answering criticism from the Games' big star, Ian Thorpe, who is aiming for a record-tying seven golds in the pool in Birmingham, England, officials said Monday that they would not let cheats slip through.
Thorpe, winner of four golds at Kuala Lumpur at the last Games and now a multi-world record holder at freestyle, has voiced concerns about the drug testing at the Games.
He called for compulsory blood testing in order to detect EPO, which has been the focus of attention at high profile endurance events such as the Tour de France.
At a Commonwealth Games Federation briefing on its anti-doping policy for the Games, acting medical adviser Brian Sando admitted there had been some confusion about whether blood testing would take place.
He acknowledged that the testing would be conducted for sports where taking EPO could be an advantage _ triathlon, and some swimming, cycling and track and field events.
"Blood sampling will be part of the testing procedure," Sando said. "Obviously we can't signal when and how we will do testing but we will test for EPO."
TRACK AND FIELD: Pole vaulter Janine Whitlock was suspended from competition by UL Athletics while a disciplinary committee hearing investigates her positive test for the anabolic steroid Dianabol at the Commonwealth Games trials last month. Marlon Shirley broke a world record for amputees using a prosthetic leg, running the 100-meter dash in 11.08 seconds in Lille, France.
SOCCER: Eliseo Quintanilla, a 19-year-old forward with the El Salvador national team, signed with D.C. United of MLS. Leicester midfielder Dennis Wise was released by his English club, after allegedly attacking teammate Callum Davidson. Former Brazil international Zico took over the reins of Japan's national team, promising a departure from the collective play instilled by predecessor Philippe Troussier to one that relies on Brazilian-style individual flair.
GOLF: In-Bee Park was the only player to shoot under par in the first round of stroke play after 3-under-par 70 at the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship in Westfield, N.J. Tampa's Mallory Code shot 74 and is in a three-way tie for third.
TELEVISION: British Open ratings were up Saturday, at 4.2 with a 12 share, eight percent higher than last year, and Sunday, at 4.9 with a 14 share, seven percent higher than a year ago. The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use. The share is the percentage of homes with sets in use.
FOOTBALL: Wide receiver Arland Bruce and running back Troy Mills of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers were in a hospital emergency room last weekend after being attacked by a crowd of 10-20 people outside a bar in Winnipeg. Police are confirming little about the attack. Both players are reluctant to press charges and police involvement ended with the original complaint, said Staff Sgt. Frank Minaker.
_ Compiled from Times wires.