FINA to introduce blood testing


World swimming governing body FINA has voted to introduce blood testing in the fight against doping.

The International Amateur Swimming Federation took the step at an extraordinary congress on the eve of the world short-course championships.

FINA had already decided in February to carry out blood and urine testing for the banned synthetic hormone erythropoietin (EPO) at these championships.

But today’s decision, which comes into effect in two months, enshrines procedure in the federation's doping control rules.

FINA came under fire at last July's world long-course championships in Japan for its reluctance to test for EPO, which can be artificially produced to boost the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells that build endurance.

EPO tests were first done at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and FINA approved the use of blood tests at the Goodwill Games last September.

EPO tests were also carried out at last year's world athletics championships in Edmonton, Canada. Under the new rules, blood sampling may be performed before, after or instead of a urine test.

No competitor will be required to provide more than two blood samples in a 48-hour period and the maximum amount to be withdrawn in this time will be 20 millilitres.