By David Gold

anti-doping lab_30-05-12May 30 - The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is to carry out drugs tests on every powerlifting athlete before they compete at London 2012, in a major pre-Paralympics crackdown.

The IPC published statistics today which revealed that of seven athletes sanctioned for anti-doping violations in 2011, four were powerlifters.

Seyed Yousef_Yousefi_Pashaki_01-05-12Liberian powerlifter James Siaffa was sanctioned earlier this month, as was Iranian counterpart Seyed Yousef Yousefi Pashaki (pictured right) at the end of April.

There will be 200 athletes competing between now and London 2012, and the IPC will test each of them during that time period.

Dr José A Pascual, the IPC's Anti-Doping Committee chair, said: "Of all the sports in the Paralympic programme powerlifting is the one where we are seeing the most anti-doping rule violations and we are determined to work hard to reduce this figure.

"However, unintended anti-doping rule violations due to the use of supplements and lack of awareness are the main reason for this situation.

"We have launched an education programme on the roles and responsibilities of athletes in the doping control process, made coaches aware of the free online course Coach True that is available by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and informed both parties of the Prohibited List and dangers of supplement use.

"In addition to this we will be dedicating significant resources to try to test every powerlifter ahead of and during the London 2012 Games.

"We want to ensure that all record breaking and medal winning performances by athletes at the Games are from clean athletes taking part drug free."

IPC Powerlifting Sport Technical Committee chair Jon Amos added: "The Sport Technical Committee is fully supportive of the IPC initiative to try to test every powerlifter at least once before competing in London and hopes that this sends out a very strong and clear message to all powerlifting athletes that doping will never be tolerated, in any form whatsoever.

"The identification and suspension of four lifters in the past year is also considered a positive reflection of the collaborative, proactive, stance being taken against those that feel that they can beat the system.

"Four anti-doping rule violations in one year in one sport, is four too many and the sooner we can eradicate doping from all sport, the better."

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