Newton first sportsman bust for growth hormone

LONDON - Anti-doping authorities are placing increasing emphasis on tip-offs and intelligence operations in their fight against drugs in sport.

LONDON - Anti-doping authorities are placing increasing emphasis on tip-offs and intelligence operations in their fight against drugs in sport.

The UK Anti-Doping Agency has credited a combination of intelligence, targeting and co-operation with the sports scientists for helping secure the first positive test for HGH (human growth hormone).

British rugby league player Terry Newton admitted taking HGH this week and has been banned for two years after a positive blood test. Synthetic HGH, an anabolic hormone that also occurs naturally in the body, has been on the International Olympic Committee banned list since 1989. A blood test was introduced at the 2004 Athens Olympics but, because the substance disappears from the body quickly and there are a limited number of tests worldwide, there were no positive tests before Newton's.

UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson told a doping seminar hosted by the London law firm Hammonds LLB on Wednesday that the agency was focusing more and more on intelligence.

"There's a whole lot of information out there that we get on a day-to-day basis," he said.

The decision by the independent Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that admission of drug use, or non-analytical positives, are equivalent to positive tests, was a breakthrough for anti-doping campaigners.

The CAS imposed a two-year ban on former world 100m champion Tim Montgomery for his involvement in the BALCO laboratory scandal. Montgomery's former partner, triple Olympic champion Marion Jones, was also banned for two years after admitting using drugs supplied by the lab and sentenced to six months' jail for perjury.

US Anti-Doping Agency head Travis Tygart said: "It's critically important to use the information that's out there (in) cracking the conspiracy like BALCO, sophisticated doping like Floyd Landis was doing. like Justin Gatlin."

Cyclist Landis and Athens 100m champion Gatlin both tested positive for drugs. - Reuters

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