Suspected doping bag found after World Cup events in Finland

Wednesday, November 29th 2006, 12:29 pm
By: News On 6

HELSINKI, Finland (AP) _ A plastic bag containing suspected doping material was found in northern Finland after several World Cup skiing events.

Police said the bag contained no banned substances, and that there was no evidence to tie it to last weekend's cross-country, ski jumping and Nordic combined competitions.

The bag was found Monday in a trash container by a rest area off a highway about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Kuusamo, where the World Cup events were held, and contained hypodermic needles and other equipment for blood transfusions.

The substances found in the bag, including fructose, are not classified as doping unless they are injected into the blood stream in liquid form, said Timo Seppala, chairman of the Finnish anti-doping commission.

``Injecting into the blood is against World Anti-Doping Agency regulations unless it is used for an emergency,'' Seppala said. ``We have reason to believe that these substances were connected to some sports.''

Police said the bag has been sent to a crime laboratory for further analysis.

Organizers said 39 urine samples and 296 blood tests were taken during the Ruka events, near the town of Kuusamo, but that it would take several weeks for the results to be published.

In 2001, Finland was rocked by its largest doping scandal after a medical bag containing banned substances and bloody syringes was found at a gas station. Six cross-country skiers, including an Olympic competitor with 11 medals, tested positive for banned substances at the Lahti 2001 world championships.