Athlete doping cases rise in 2009

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Athlete doping cases rise in 2009

The highest number of South Korean athletes tested positive for doping in 2009 since the establishment of the country’s anti-doping body, its officials said Sunday.

The Korea Anti-Doping Agency (KADA) said that out of 3,300 doping tests conducted at the request of the International Federation, 17 Korean athletes in bodybuilding and squash - among other sports - were caught taking prohibited drugs last year.

Bodybuilders accounted for the highest portion with 11 cases involving athletes in the sport, including a national competition winner, it said.

The KADA was set up in 2007 to oversee drug tests according to international standards. There were six violators in 2007 and 13 in 2008, it noted.

The percentage of violators among athletes tested has risen steadily, though modestly, over the years. In 2007, 0.3 percent of those tested were found to have taken banned substances. The number rose to 0.4 percent in 2008 and 0.5 percent in 2009.

“The increase does not seem to be the result of a larger number of athletes taking prohibited drugs, but rather changes to the test techniques - like the implementation of occasional random tests - that may have affected the results,” an official at KADA said.

Bodybuilders were the most targeted athletes by the agency. In 2008, KADA officials gathered athletes at a location without warning and conducted spot tests.

The agency also decided to initiate random tests at bodybuilding events.

In keeping with World Anti-Doping Association rules, athletes under KADA’s supervision who are found to have taken illegal substances as well as those in possession of performance-enhancing drugs are suspended. Yonhap

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