Fight against drug cheats to intensify


The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) medical commission will intensify its bid to develop a test for human growth hormone (HGH) following the success of the Sydney Olympics, a leading Australian doctor said yesterday.

Dr Ken Fitch, a member of the IOC medical commission, admitted a test for HGH would probably not be ready in time for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. But he was optimistic the medical commission would have a test in place by the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Meanwhile, Australia's Olympics minister Michael Knight resigned from politics yesterday in the face of widespread personal criticism. Knight said he and his family decided last Christmas that he would quit politics after the Games.

IOC senior vice-president Dick Pound labelled Knight "mean-spirited" for blocking a gold IOC award to the chief of the Sydney Games organising body. The Sydney Morning Herald ran a cartoon of Knight with a gold medal for "vindictiveness beyond the call of duty".

Pound said Knight had threatened to publicly reject his IOC gold order if his colleague Sandy Hollway was also granted the same honour.

Hollway was chief executive of the Sydney Organising Committee of the Games, but in the final weeks before the Sydney Olympics Knight brought in a bureaucrat to supersede him.

The IOC have also announced that two unnamed athletes have tested positive for banned drugs after competing during the last two days of the Sydney Games. Their cases will be dealt with at a hearing within 30 days in Lausanne.