By Duncan Mackay

Richard Nicholson_racing_on_trackJune 16 - A member of Australia's Paralympic team for London 2012 has revealed how he gave up powerlifting because the sport is so riddled with drugs.

Richard Nicholson won a silver in powerlifting at Sydney in 2000 in the men's up to 60 kilogram event but gave up the sport afterwards because he did not believe that he could compete against athletes taking drugs.

"I got a silver medal in Sydney and I thought, 'That's the best I could do playing by the rules'," he told the Canberra Times.

"I didn't think I could do a lot better against guys who were cheating."

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is so concerned about the situation in powerlifting that they announced last month that they will test every competitor in the sport before London 2012.

Seven powerlifters tested positive in 2011 and the IPC wants to avoid a repeat of Sydney where ten competitors were caught using drugs during the Games. 

"You play sport, you play hard but you play fair, so it wasn't something I was tempted to do and at that time it wasn't an option for me so I just chose to do something else," Nicholson told the Canberra Times.

"I think [the sport has] improved.

"I don't want to dwell on that sort of thing.

"Unfortunately it's just part of sport.

"It's not necessarily the ones earning a lot of money, either.

"There's no money in Paralympic sport but people are still keen to do it."

After Sydney Nicholson took up wheelchair racing and was a member of Australia's 4x400 metres relay team that won a silver medal at Athens in 2004.

London 2012 will be Nicholson's fifth consecutive Paralympics appearance since making his debut at Atlanta in 1996.

He will be competing in the 100m and 400m, as well as the 4x400m relay.

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