Norwegian national team skiers are tired and frustrated of knowing that that many of their competitors are seldom being doping tested. They are now demanding that FIS is stepping up in their hunt for doping violators, reports Norwegian newspaper VG ( www.vg.no )
The demands are based upon the fact that while Norwegian national team skiers are not only being tested around international competitions they are also frequently tested anytime and anywhere by the national anti-doping agency. Many skiers from other nations are never tested outside competitions.
– It’s our demand that all athletes should be tested once per month outside the competition season and more frequent during the season, says Norwegian skier Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset
He is currently at the team’s pre-Worlds training camp in Seiser Alm and they have already been visited by people from the Norwegian anti-doping agency.
We were tested two days ago by Anti-doping Norway. They are doing a good job, but it doesn’t help if we are the only one being tested, says Hjelmeset
They feel that a lot can be done better internationally.
– We have said it before and are saying it again, FIS need to intensify the hunt for dopers, says chief of sport Bjornar Hakensmoen
He is convinced that there are skiers that are trying to beat the system.
– FIS need to get even tougher. They have done the right thing by investing enormous amount of money in their anti doping work. Now the national/domestic agencies need to follow their footsteps, says Hakensmoen.
Hjelmeset is pointing out weaknesses in today’s system.
– It’s not good enough. We need tests at every World Cup race. They need to especially test after longer periods without competitions, says Hjelmeset
Frode Estil is underlining the importance of visiting athletes outside the competitions.
– Every medal candidate need be tested before all championships, says Estil
Norwegian skiers are making these statements because they feel that many nations don’t care. 2003 World Champion Martin Koukal from the Czech Republic said last year that he had not been tested outside competition for four years.
– That’s shocking. As the World Champion, he should have been tested as frequently as skiers from other nations. This shows that the system is not working, says Estil
Hakensmoen is afraid of the future of the sport if we were to experience another â€œdoping championshipâ€ as in Lahti in 2001 and Salt Lake City in 2002.
– We can handle single occurrences, but it’s a big difference between that and when doping is part of a system, says Hakensmoen.
– I have confidence in what FIS is doing, but is more skeptical to the anti doping work done in domestic agencies in Central Europe