Primo Nebiolo, the president of the world governing body of track and field (IAAF), said today that he does not support blood testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
Just a week after the International Olympic Committee decided it would use blood tests--in addition to urine tests--at the 2000 Olympics, Nebiolo indicated that the IAAF has no plans to follow suit.
"We are completely autonomous and independent from the IOC," Nebiolo said during a news conference. ". . . It is not compulsory for us to follow what the IOC is doing."
The current urine tests have been very controversial. They cannot conclusively determine the presence of the steroid testosterone and are completely unable to detect the presence of erythropoietin (EPO) and human growth hormone (hGH).
The IOC decided blood-testing would be mandatory and could lead to penalties in Sydney if recently developed tests for EPO and hGH are validated in the next year. Otherwise, the blood testing will be voluntary and used for research.
Only two athletes--Nigeria's Davidson Ezinwa and Somalia's Ibrahim Mohamed Aden, a 1,500-meter runner who attended George Mason University in 1996--tested positive here for banned performance-enhancing drugs. The testing was done at the IOC-accredited laboratory in Madrid.
Runyan Stays Upbeat
American Marla Runyan, the first legally blind runner to compete at a major international track event, finished 10th of 12 runners in the 1,500-meter final tonight, but she did not leave these world championships disappointed.
Runyan, who has suffered from macular degeneration since her childhood and has 20/300 vision in both eyes, said her legs felt heavy after Friday's punishing semifinal, in which she finished fourth in a personal best of 4 minutes 5.27 seconds.
"I have to just say, I am so honored to wear a USA uniform and run in this stadium," Runyan said. "I count my blessings every day. . . . I am the most appreciative athlete on this team."
Runyan finished in 4:06.45 tonight. Russian Svetlana Masterkova (3:59.53) won, with American Regina Jacobs taking the silver--as she had at the '97 worlds.
One of the most exciting events of the championships came in the men's 800. Denmark's Wilson Kipketer, the defending world champion, chased down South Africa's Hezekiel Sepeng over the last 10 meters and won on the lean at the finish. Kipketer's winning time of 1:43.30 topped Sepeng by two hundredths of a second.
"I knew I was going to catch Sepeng," Kipketer said. "The only trouble was that time was running out and I didn't know that I would make it before the line."
Follow the Leader
Little-known North Korean marathoner Song Ok Jong broke away from Japan's Ari Ichihashi with less than a mile remaining in the women's marathon this morning to win by four seconds in 2:26.59. The pair passed three-time Boston marathon winner Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia at about the 24-mile mark.
"I imagined in my mind the image of our Korean leader, Kim Jong II, and this inspired me today," Jong said. "This was the source of my power."