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Last updated at 11:13 BST, Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympic drug cheats


27 July 2012

The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency has said he believes hundred of athletes at the Olympics could be drug cheats. The Director General of WADA David Howman made the comment as details of a positive test were revealed. Morocco's Mariem Selsouli, one of the favourites for women's 1500 metres gold medal, is out of the Games.


Alex Capstick

Mariem Selsouli

Moroccan 1500m runner Mariem Selsouli has failed a drugs test and will miss the London Olympics.


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Mariem Selsouli gave a sample which contained a banned diuretic shortly after running the fastest time this year over 1500 metres in Paris earlier this month. She has become one of more than a hundred athletes worldwide who have been caught in the last six months.

The anti-doping operation at this Olympics will be the most rigorous in history. There are new ways to detect banned substances like human growth hormone and synthetic testosterone which have previously dipped beneath the radar. But despite the advances, the Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency has expressed caution. David Howman feared as many as one in ten athletes at the Games could be cheating the system. And he said the sophisticated dopers are difficult to trap.

WADA said intelligence gathering had become key in identifying potential cheats and that individual athletes have been targeted. Samples taken in London will be kept for the next eight years. The message to those who want to use banned products was they would never be able to rest at ease. Although the International Olympic Committee has been criticised for not re-testing the batch from the 2004 Games in Athens until recently.


Click to hear the vocabulary


a sample

a small quantity of urine


drug that tends to increase the passing of urine


extremely thorough

to detect

to discover the existence of



dipped beneath the radar

not been noticed in doping tests


a warning


most complex

potential cheats

athletes who are suspected of taking drugs

to rest at ease

to relax