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This is not a war we can afford to lose, says Coe, warning the risk-takers.

Byline: Martyn Ziegler

SEBASTIAN COE last night reacted to the doping scandal that has engulfed two of the world's top sprinters by warning that athletics will intensify the battle against drugs cheats.

Positive tests by Tyson Gay, the fastest man in the world this year, and Jamaica's former world record holder Asafa Powell have sent shockwaves through athletics.

Coe, vice-president of the international athletics federation (IAAF) and chairman of the British Olympic Association, said: "The most important thing for me is that the testing system is working and for the sake of clean athletes it is very important we do not flinch in our efforts.

"This is not a war we can afford to lose, and it is important for any athlete to know that if they want to risk cheating that they are going to get caught.

"Of course we would rather not wake up to the headlines that we have done today, but we have taken a tough stance on doping and will continue to do so.

"We would rather have the shortterm embarrassment from the sorts of stories we have today rather than a decline in the sport to a position where no one has any trust in the athletes. That's what we are fighting for."

It is not known for which substance Gay has tested positive - that should be confirmed after the result of analysis of his B sample.

Powell, who has run 9.88secs this year but failed to make the Jamaican team for next month's World Championships, was tested at the national trials in June and returned an adverse finding for oxilofrine (methylsynephrine), a stimulant that boosts fat-burning.

Jamaica's Sherone Simpson, a threetime Olympic medallist, has also tested positive for the same substance.

Coe said: "We are still waiting for the B samples and as vice-president of the IAAF it is very important we go through this process in a proper way to really understand what we are dealing with. But the message is getting through and we are not taking our foot off the pedal."

The news has prompted sportswear giant adidas to suspend its contract with Gay, after it invoked a clause dealing with doping.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said the tests showed out-of-competition testing was working.

Rogge said: "I was surprised and disappointed, but I feel strengthened by the measures that have been taken by USADA, by WADA and the world of sport in general.

"It's always disappointing when you hear bad news, but at the same time this is confirmation that out-of-competition testing really is effective. "I think that's what we have to remember about that. To continue to do out-of-competition testing, testing, testing all the time and storing blood profiles and freezing the samples and re-examining them within the eight years statute of limitation."

Meanwhile, the hotel in Italy where Powell and Simpson are staying has been raided by police who confiscated some substances for analysis, according to media reports in the country.

The raid took place early yesterday at the hotel in Lignano Sabbiadoro, in northern Italy.

CAPTION(S):

UNDER SCRUTINY Left, former world record holder Asafa Powell has tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine and is awaiting the outcome of his case. Above, Alberto Contador was stripped of the 2010 Tour de France title having been found guilty of a doping offence
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 16, 2013
Words:556
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