Two test positive for cocaine

Two Irish sportsmen last year tested positive for cocaine, a new report revealed today.

Traces of the drug were found in a basketball player and rugby player after they underwent anti-doping tests.

Five other athletes were also identified for using illegal substances.

The Irish Sports Council’s anti-doping annual report showed out of 918 tests carried out during 2004 seven competitors failed.

While the rugby player and basketball player are awaiting sanction, a footballer has been suspended for two months after cannabis was found in his system.

The report noted sanctions were given in a further three cases. A motorsport competitor and a motorcyclist both breached rules regarding alcohol levels in their system.

And an athlete was suspended for two years after testing positive for the hormone erythropoietin or EPO which boosts the levels of red blood cells, improving performance and stamina.

In a separate instance a cyclist was given a therapeutic use exemption order for the banned drug salbutamol in order to undergo special treatment.

Minister for Sport John O’Donoghue said 2004 was an important year in the fight against doping in sport in Ireland.

“High-profile cases and the introduction of the new rules demonstrated our commitment to win the battle against doping in sport. We will not relent in this fight as the integrity of our sport and sports people must be protected,” he said.

Out of Competition tests accounted for 60% of testing under the National Programme, with 37 sports subject to testing, with 75 tests overseas.

The report noted that as 2004 was an Olympic and Paralympic year, all athletes who qualified for the Games were tested at least once out of competition.

Dr Una May, programme manager Anti-Doping Unit, was invited by World Anti-Doping Association to join a select group as an independent observer at the Olympics.

She has also been asked to chair the independent observer group at the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki in August this year.

John Treacy, ISC chief executive, said it was a reflection of how highly Ireland’s anti-doping programme was rated internationally.

“That is of huge significance to us,” he said. “And looking forward, a focus for 2005 will be to develop an educational strategy for the next three years, building upon existing initiatives and developing new areas of activity.”

Most Read in Sport