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IPC to target national committees in anti-doping drive

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) plans to step up its anti-doping efforts amid further failed drugs test by powerlifters.

Rashed Hassan Ahmed of the UAE and Kazakhstan’s Oleg Gridassov have been suspended and fined for separate anti-doping rule violations at the 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships in Dubai. The pair are the latest athletes from the sport to be suspended over the past 14 months.

The IPC and the IPC Anti-Doping Committee are considering a range of actions that could be taken against National Paralympic Committees (NPC) that repeatedly have athletes fail drugs tests. The proposals will be presented to the IPC Governing Board in October, with a view to being included in the new IPC Anti-Doping Code that is set to be effective from January 1, 2015.

Penalties could include financial sanctions and limiting the number of slots available to NPCs for athletes to compete in the sport in question at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Xavier Gonzalez, the IPC’s chief executive officer, said: “Doping cheats, and those supporting them, have no place in IPC Powerlifting. We take doping in sport extremely seriously and, as our testing programme clearly shows, we are 100 per cent committed to finding the cheats and suspending them from the sport.

“We are disappointed with the high number of positive tests in recent years despite IPC Powerlifting's best efforts to educate powerlifters and support staff around the world. We're more disappointed however at the number of athletes across all sports who, during anti-doping hearings, have said they have received no education or support on anti-doping from their NPC, despite the fact that this is ultimately their responsibility.

“The IPC will be increasing our efforts further but the NPCs also must fulfil their obligations too. They have a duty to ensure their athletes are not cheating and are fully aware of the rules, especially in light of all the supplements that are out there. If they fail this duty, then they, as well as the athlete, may face a range of actions should an anti-doping violation occur.”

In 2013 around 850 lifters and their support staff were educated on the importance of anti-doping at various competitions around the world as part of IPC Powerlifting's ‘Raise the Bar – Say No! to Doping’ campaign. IPC Powerlifting also increased the number of tests covering urine and blood by 65 per cent last year compared to 2011 – the previous non-Paralympic Games year.