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Anti-doping: Team GB chief says retrospective testing is a 'great thing'

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Bill Sweeney

Team GB chiefs hope the introduction of retrospective drugs testing will help discourage athletes from cheating at this summer’s Rio Olympics.

Samples from 23 London 2012 athletes and 31 from Beijing 2008 were found to contain banned substances during recent retests by the IOC.

Twenty-two of the 54 failed tests were for Russian competitors.

“Making sure sport is protected for clean athletes is critical,” said Team GB chief executive Bill Sweeney.

“Retrospective testing is a great thing and it sends out a great message to any athletes considering cheating.”

The IOC has been retesting samples from the last two Olympic Games at the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland. The tests are focusing on samples from athletes hoping to compete at the upcoming Games.

Team GB chef de mission Mark England added: “We applaud the steps that the international federations such as the IAAF and the IOC are taking to ensure all athletes across the world are competing on a level playing field.

“I think a very strong message is coming out that there is no where to hide.”

Thursday marks 50 days to go until the start of Rio 2016 and England is confident the British squad can achieve best-ever results at an overseas Games.

The current record is 47 medals at Beijing 2008 – although with retrospective re-testing that figure could yet increase.

“I think it’s the most talented team that we’ve ever taken away,” said England. “If you look right across the board there isn’t a sport which hasn’t won a medal at European or world level and I would be very confident that we could surpass that medal target.”

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BBC Sport – Athletics