Irish Sports Council conduct record number of drugs tests

A record 1,135 anti-doping tests were carried out on Irish sports men and women last year, it emerged today.

A record 1,135 anti-doping tests were carried out on Irish sports men and women last year, it emerged today.

The Irish Sports Council revealed three adverse findings were recorded in 2007, with an international martial arts competitor and an amateur rugby player both sanctioned.

However the third, a cyclist, was later cleared.

In its anti-doping annual report for 2007, the council said tests were carried out across 37 sports, including the Under 19 Rugby World Championships in Belfast in April 2007, the largest event covered by the Irish Sports Council.

Dr Brendan Buckley, chair of the anti-doping committee, maintained the testing programme in 2007 was very extensive, with a relatively high number of tests by international standards.

Bur he said doping in sport remains a major challenge.

“The work of anti-doping agencies will ensure that the fight against doping is constant, unrelenting and ultimately successful,” he said.

“However we must be realistic and accept that the fight will take a long time.

“Cutting edge technologies, often developed with the best intentions to prevent or cure serious illness, will provide new means to challenge the rules of sport.

“However it is our knowledge of simple human nature, or the long and infamous history of cheating in sport, that leads us to conclude that we will always need an anti-doping programme.”

The organisation also stressed that every Irish Olympic and Paralympic athlete heading to Beijing will undergo testing throughout the coming months.

Ossie Kilkenny, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council, said 2008 brings with it a renewed focus on the area of doping in sport.

“The council will ensure that every Irish athlete who may compete in Beijing at the Olympic or Paralympic Games will be tested,” he added.

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