By Tom Degun

Anti dope_April_13April 11 - UK Anti-Doping have today announced that they have started testing international athletes arriving to train, compete or stay in the United Kingdom ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

All international athletes will be tested without notice, in the same way as UK athletes, as part of the organisation's pre-Games period anti-doping programme.

It means that leading athletes such as Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and American swimmer Michael Phelps could face random testing when they arrive at their respective pre-Games training camps in Britain ahead of London 2012.

It is believed that the initiative is the first intelligence led pre-Games programme of its kind and it has been praised by World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman.

"This is a positive step towards achieving a clean Games," said Howman.

"I would like to thank UK Anti-Doping for this initiative which reinforces our message to anti-doping organisations worldwide."

UK Anti-Doping has already contacted international federations and national anti-doping organisations from across the world to co-ordinate activity and to share information to ensure that testing is targeted.

An intelligence led approach means that information gathered from a variety of sources, including the analysis of doping risks in each sport and the testing windows for specific substances and methods will be used to inform activities.

Hugh Robertson_April_13
"For the past 12 months, UK Anti-Doping has been sending a strong message to national and international athletes likely to compete at London 2012; a message that the UK has one of the most advanced anti-doping systems in the world and that we will do all we can to protect clean athletes," said UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson.

"We have established a number of strong links with global partners and we can now use these to share information and pool resources.

"We are able to test any athlete on UK soil and we are utilising this right, to help realise the UK's ambition that London 2012 is the cleanest Games ever."

This latest initiative complements the UK's "Win Clean: Say No to Doping" campaign launched in September 2011 aimed at educating international athletes looking to compete at London and to remind them of their anti-doping rights and responsibilities.

"We are doing all we can to ensure that there is no place to hide for drug cheats in this country," said the Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson (pictured above, left), a vocal critic of drug cheats in sport.

"Information sharing across borders and a strong testing programme will help in this fight in the run up to London 2012 and beyond."

The move has also been welcomed by International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical director Patrick Schamasch.

"This shows the real will to harmonise during this important pre-Games period," said Schamasch.

"Working together will help all of us to work for the best of sport and a clean Games."

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