By David Owen

John Fahey_11-07-12July 11 - The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has called on athletes taking performance-enhancing drugs to stay away from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

With less than three weeks to go before the Olympic Opening Ceremony, John Fahey (pictured above), WADA's President, told drug cheats it was impossible for them to achieve success.

He said: "If you are a doping athlete and you are planning to compete in London then you must withdraw from your Olympic team...

"If you compete in London as a doped athlete then not only will you be cheating your fellow athletes, you will be cheating sports fans across the world, doing a disservice to your national flag and flouting the ideals of the Olympic Movement.

"A doping athlete cannot achieve success, it is a complete contradiction.

"Even if a doping athlete were to win a medal he or she would never be able to look at themselves in the mirror and say, 'Well done, I deserved this.'

"The Olympic Games is the absolute pinnacle for many athletes, and for them to train endlessly over a four-year period and then have their efforts belittled by a doping athlete, to me that is complete and utter betrayal of what sport stands for."

Although few in sport would disagree with these sentiments, Fahey's plea comes amid concern that drug cheats continue to evade detection, in spite of concerted worldwide efforts to unmask them.

london 2012_anti-doping_lab_11-07-12
Alluding to London 2012's extensive testing programme, which will see more samples analysed than at any previous Games, Fahey warned doping athletes that they would be "under the severe scrutiny of anti-doping officials from the moment they set foot in the Olympic Village".

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and London 2012 had, he said, "prepared an extensive anti-doping programme that will analyse up to 6,250 samples while the anti-doping authorities are already sharing intelligence to assist with target testing of athletes under suspicion...

"UK Anti-Doping is mandated to test athletes in training camps ahead of the Games and has also compiled much intelligence with the cooperation of anti-doping organisations worldwide.

"There has been a coherent effort to make London 2012 as 'clean' as possible and doping athletes should know that their chances of avoiding detection are the smallest they have ever been."

Nonetheless, Fahey added: "The world's anti-doping community can only do so much.

"If every athlete decides not to dope then we will have a completely dope-free Games, that's the simple reality.

"It is up to the athletes and I urge them to collectively take more responsibility for the sake of clean competition."

Whether drugs cheats will act on Fahey's plea remains to be seen, but must be doubtful.

One blood doping expert, Professor Carsten Lundby, recently told insidethegames that the high volume of tests at London 2012 provided no guarantee that cheats would not win medals.

David Howman_11-07-12
Fahey's colleague David Howman (pictured above), WADA's director general, has warned, moreover, that "the fight against doping in sport has reached the stage where science alone will not eradicate cheating or often even detect it".

Howman added: "There is an increasing sophistication of cheating at the high end of sport."

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