Commonwealth Games organisers target drug cheats
A PLAN to ensure the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games are the "cleanest ever” has drug cheats firmly in its sights.
Four doping offences were recorded at the 2010 Games in Delhi, while two athletes - including Nigerian 53kg weightlifting gold medallist Chika Amalaha - failed doping tests during the 2014 Games in Glasgow.
In an attempt to avoid similar doping controversy, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) chief executive Mark Peters said a partnership between the World Anti Doping Authority (WADA), the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority (ASADA), the Commonwealth Games Federation and GOLDOC, would be targeting a clean 2018 Games.
At Coolangatta on Thursday to announce the Gold Coast Airport as an official sponsor of the Games, Peters said the program, which would include rigorous pre-game testing involving hundreds of officials in conjunction with WADA across qualification and other events, was one of the biggest programs ever seen around an international event.
"Every athlete that comes here will know they've got the best chance to be in a clean environment,” he said.
"Everyone supports clean athletes; we'll work hard with the other organisations to ensure this will be a clean Games.
"Athletes that do want to cheat will get caught.”
The Federal Government has committed $1.5 million over two years to ASADA for pre-Games testing, to cover the cost of more than 750 tests of Australian and international athletes, and other measures.
ASADA this week announced senior federal police officer and former AFP assistant commissioner David Sharpe would replace Ben McDevitt as their chief executive officer in a move to stamp out cheating.
Former Queensland premier and GOLDOC chairman Peter Beattie said hosting a clean games was their main focus, and vital for the 2018 Games' reputation.
"Pre-testing is so important because that stops people getting here who are in fact drug cheats,” Beattie said.
"It's about reputation and about the quality of the event. Australians hate cheats, they want to see good competition, but they want to see it fair.
"There's always someone who wants to break the rules. We need to make sure the rules catch them, and that's what we'll do.
"These Games are going to be the cleanest ever.”
More than 6600 athletes will compete at the Games, which runs from April 4-15, 2018.