ROGGE rules out cutting list of banned drugs

Tuesday, July 24th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ IOC president Jacques Rogge reportedly ruled out reductions in the list of banned drugs for athletes, a position at odds with that of his predecessor.

``With all due respect to Juan Antonio Samaranch, he is not aware of the reality in sports medicine and doping,'' Rogge told the El Mundo newspaper on Tuesday.

``I know it because of my profession,'' said Rogge, an orthopedic surgeon. ``It's not possible to reduce the list and we're not going to reduce the list. That's very clear.''

Rogge was elected IOC president last week. Samaranch had run the organization for 21 years and had recommended lowering the number of banned substances, contending the list was not realistic.

While admitting the battle against drugs could not be won entirely, Rogge said the ``actual level of doping was unacceptable. We'll have to fight to reduce it as much as possible.''

He said he would seek greater cooperation with the World Anti-Doping Agency, set up in 1999 to coordinate the global campaign against drugs in sports. He also said he was optimistic that genetic engineering would assist the fight against drugs in sports.

Rogge gave the interview while in the southern Spanish city of Murcia on Monday for the opening of the European Youth Olympic Days competition.

Saying he was open to considering golf and rugby as Olympic sports, Rogge stressed there were 10 other sports that were candidates. He did not disclose those sports but ruled out any changes before the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Rogge also skirted criticism of China's human rights record.

``I'm very optimistic; we won't have a boycott by anyone in the Beijing Games,'' Rogge told El Mundo.

``The games influence every country through which they pass,'' he said. '' I can't say what will happen in China, right now, it's impossible to know. But the games will have a very positive influence in China overall.''