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IOC calls doping a cat-and-mouse game

/ Source: The Associated Press

Doping is a cat-and-mouse game, and Dr. Patrick Schamasch — the IOC medical and scientific director — believes the cat is about to start winning.

Olympic officials will carry out 4,500 doping tests for the Beijing Games, a 25 percent increase from Athens in 2004. That includes 1,300 pre-competition tests and almost 800 blood tests.

"This is of course a cat-and mouse game, but for the first time the cat will be at the same level as the mouse," Schamasch said. "And I do hope the cat will be waiting for the mouse outside the hole."

Schamasch led a small tour Thursday of the China Anti-Doping Agency's laboratory in north Beijing, a three-story red and gray building which will carry out the tests for the Beijing Olympics. The lab employs 140 people, and Schamasch called it "the most secure place in Beijing at the time of the games."

The lab is expected to administer about 400 tests for human growth hormone. Schamasch declined to answer many questions about this test, except to say it was essentially the same test used four years ago. There were no positive hgh tests in Athens, a drug which is difficult to detect because it passes out of the body very quickly.

"We don't have any new method here, we have an improved method that has been developed in the past," Schamasch said.

Asked to say more about the test, Schamasch added: "We don't want to answer that question. We don't want to reveal to the cheaters what we are doing. We want to frighten them, but not reveal exactly what we do."

Schamasch said those selected for hgh tests would be chosen on basis of "intelligence and other parameters."

Schamasch said about 100 pre-competition tests had been administered through Thursday with no positive results.