Interview: World Anti-Doping Agency chief John Fahey

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Doping in sports will always be a problem, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chief John Fahey has told SBS.

In an extended interview, Fahey said he was personally "shattered" by the Lance Armstrong revelations but the organisation is fighting hard to keep sport clean and that progress is being made.

“It’s fair to say that the cheats are trying to stay ahead and we’re trying to catch up,” he said. “I don’t believe will ever win the war. Human nature being what it is, there will be those out there that will try and get the advantage.

“We have come a long way, we’re far more effective than we were some years ago when we first started. But will we stamp it all out? I suspect not,” Fahey said.

Nevertheless, he believes progress is being made, with WADA now establishing a relationship with pharmaceutical companies to keep track of new drugs in development.

“We’ve now got an understanding with the major pharmaceuticals companies in the world to actually look at what they are developing at the clinical stages, long before drugs are released.”

WADA consults scientific experts from around the world to determine which drugs should be banned.

But some Dutch researchers are claiming that there's no evidence to suggest that blood booster EPO improves performance in elite cyclists.

EPO, a drug linked to disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, is banned because it is believed to improve oxygen delivery to muscles.

Athlete's Marion Jones and Ben Johnson were also stripped of their titles for using EPO.

Fahey believes this study is misleading and undermines the work that anti-doping agencies do. “

For one body to say that EPOs are not performance-enhancing defies everything that I know from experts from right around the world that had input into the prohibited list,” he told SBS.

“It’s a fight where we have to continue to renew our vigour and energy, and be constantly vigilant if we’re going to succeed in giving the world what it wants: clean sport.”

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