Midnight drugs test on Austrians

Ten Austrian athletes have been tested for drugs in a midnight raid on team headquarters by Italian police acting on a tip-off, according to the International Olympic Committee.

Anti-doping officials said they decided to act after they learned of the suspected presence of the banned coach Walter Mayer with the Austrian team.

Six cross-country skiers and four biathlon athletes were given urine tests whose results will be announced within two days. But officials confirmed neither Mayer nor any drugs were found.

Mayer was banned from Turin and the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver after the discovery of blood transfusion equipment in his accommodation in Salt Lake City four years ago.

An IOC statement said: “The IOC has acted on information it received in a report given it by the World Anti-Doping Agency which indicates the possible presence of Mr Walter Mayer in the private accommodation of the Austrian biathlon and cross-country teams.

“Given that Mr Mayer has been declared ineligible to participate in all Olympic Games up to and including Vancouver 2010, based on his involvement in blood manipulation offences committed in Salt Lake City in 2002, the IOC is fulfilling its responsibility to conduct anti-doping controls on athletes who might have been under his influence.”

The Austrian team have protested over the circumstances of the raid and but confirmed Mayer’s presence at the Games, insisting he is in Turin merely as a spectator.

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