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Olympic Anti-Doping Efforts Up as Positive Tests Drop

Olympic officials say the low number of positive doping cases in Beijing means prevention efforts were effective. German strongman Matthias Steiner is putting his weight behind the anti-doping programs.

Jong-Su Kim holds up his medal

Kim was stripped of his two shooting medals after a positive doping test

Over 4,000 doping tests have been carried out so far as part of the anti-doping program at the Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Wednesday, Aug. 20.

"We are now at a total of 4,133 tests of which 3,292 are urine and 848 are blood tests," IOC communications director Giselle Davies told reporters. "We'll get to some 4,500 by the end of the Games, the highest number of testing done in any Olympic Games as part of our efforts in the fight against doping."

The figure compares with 3,500 at the Athens Games four years ago and 2,800 at the 2000 Sydney Games.

There have been a handful of positive tests so far, compared with a total 26 four years ago. Only one medal winner -- shooter Jong-Su Kim from North Korea -- has been stripped of his prize.

Heptathlon silver medallist Lyudmila Blonska, however, is under doping investigation at the Beijing Games, Olympic sources told the dpa news agency on Wednesday. It was not known immediately for which substance the 29-year-old Ukrainian tested positive. If the positive test is confirmed she faces a life ban as a second-time offender.

Ahead of the Games, IOC President Jacques Rogge said he expected 30 to 40 positive tests, based on results from previous Olympics. But Davies insisted this year's low numbers were an indication that doping deterrents were effective.

Natural strength

German weightlifter Matthias Steiner, who won his first Olympic gold medal this week, said he'd been tested 10 times this year already and is a strong supporter of anti-doping efforts.

"I certainly believe it's a positive development, the fact that doping systems work and are effective," the heavy-weight said Tuesday, referring to the increased testing.

Performance-enhancing substances are particularly common in certain sports, including weightlifting, track and field, and cycling.

Bulgaria was forced to withdraw its weightlifting team from the Games in Beijing after several of its members returned positive doping tests.

Matthias Steiner participates in the Olympic weightlifting competition in Beijing

Steiner dedicated his gold medal to his late wife who was killed in a car accident in 2007

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