UK Drugs Testing Keeps the Athletes on Right Track

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 3, 2006 | Go to article overview

UK Drugs Testing Keeps the Athletes on Right Track


Former uk Athletics performance director Max Jones believes it would be 'suicidal' for any athlete to try and beat this country's methodical drug-testing system. Jones was commenting on the case of Justin Gatlin (pictured), who last weekend became the USA's latest big-name star to be revealed as an alleged drug cheat after failing a test for testosterone in April.

The world and Olympic champion, also co-holder of the world 100m record, will plead his innocence at a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) hearing next week.

He belongs to a squad coached by the controversial Trevor Graham which in the past few years has seen several big names - including former world 100m record-holder Tim Montgomery - banned for drug offences.

Jones believes the fact track and field is a very low-profile sport among the US public encourages American athletes to cheat.

The former top coach believes, unlike in Europe and the United Kingdom, there is very little disgrace attached to cheating in athletics.

'I think in America with lack of real public interest, there is not the same stigma of being called a drug cheat - and there is hardly any coverage when it occurs,' said Jones.

'That makes the temptation much greater. Here things are very different, with those who do frowned upon by all levels of society.

'In Europe things are a lot more vigilant and testing procedures much tighter.

'It's particularly difficult to cheat in this country - the system is much more tried and tested.

'You might get away with it in other parts of the world, but here it would be tantamount to committing suicide. …

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