SYDNEY – A prominent Australian Olympic runner says she is certain she will be racing alongside drug cheats at the Beijing Games, a local newspaper reported Wednesday.
“I have no doubts that when I line up next week on the start line, I will look left and right and know the other girls aren’t all clean,” Tamsyn Lewis said in an interview that appeared in the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.
Lewis, who won the world indoor title in the women’s 800 meters earlier this year, said the sport was rife with drug cheats and labeled the situation “farcical and simply unfair.”
“I’ve lost all faith in the system because there are so many athletes who are slipping under the radar,” she said.
“That is not sport, it’s plain cheating and we need to be vigilant in nailing those who cross the line,” Lewis added.
Her comments came after seven Russian athletes were banned from competing in the Beijing Olympics for tampering with their samples.
However, the Australian Olympic Committee said the 29-year-old runner should focus on her performance, with just days to go before the games begin.
“We agree with Tamsyn that it’s a problem but it’s a problem that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) is throwing enormous efforts at to solve,” AOC Vice President Peter Montgomery told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“I think the best attitude for athletes here is to concentrate on their performances and leave the detection of cheats to the appropriate authorities,” he added.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also weighed into the argument, saying the IOC had a responsibility to ensure the Beijing Olympics are drug-free.
“The International Olympic Committee has a responsibility to ensure that we have a fair games and that means a proper and rigorous approach to testing so that everyone has a fair chance, everyone has a fair go and that our athletes are on the same level playing field, literally, as everyone else,” Rudd said.
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