Three Australian athletes were banned from competing at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games after failing drug tests in the lead-up to competition, drug testers have revealed.
The head of the Australian Sports Anti-doping Agency (ASADA), David Sharpe, said the athletes were caught during pre-event testing along with “a number” of international competitors.
Sharpe declined to name the athletes, saying he could not identify them under laws governing ASADA.
He said a taskforce had been designated to test athletes at home and abroad to make sure the Games were clean.
“That’s what it’s about, it’s about removing the ability of those cheats in sport to have their moment,” Sharpe said.
Australian sprinter Jessica Peris was banned in February for testing positive to prohibited substances — but it was unclear whether Sharpe was referring to that case.
Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg said no positive results had been returned during this month’s Commonwealth Games so far.
“2,600 Australian athletes were tested in the lead-up, prior to arriving in the Games, and they were not necessarily athletes that were going to attend, but athletes that were competing for positions to attend,” Sharpe said.
“There were in excess of 500 international athletes tested by our partners, all funded by the Australian Government who wanted to make sure we had a legacy event and the cleanest event in the Commonwealth Games history.”
Mr Sharpe said 371 of the tests were “intelligence-directed” by the taskforce, which was the first in Commonwealth Games history.
“It’s about the fans, they love the unpredictability of results that anti-doping programs bring. It’s about allowing the fans the unpredictability of not knowing who’s going to win.”
Sharpe said tip-offs came from a reporting hotline and international organisations.