Doping-Only clean athletes will get Jones's medals - IOC's Rogge

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ATHENS, Nov 7 (Reuters) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will award the five Sydney 2000 Olympics medals returned by Marion Jones only to athletes who are clean, its president Jacques Rogge said.

''This is not going to be merely an automatic upgrade,'' Rogge told reporters Yesterday in a teleconference. ''Every potentially upgraded athlete will be scrutinised on her merit.'' Rogge said the top five finishers were automatically tested by the IOC, along with three random finishers, and their results were stored for eight years so they would be cleared before being awarded medals.

''We want to upgrade athletes that we know are absolutely clean,'' Rogge said.

Jones, the first woman to claim five medals at a single Olympics, won gold in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x400 metres relay in Sydney. She took bronze medals in the long jump and 4x100 metres relay.

Among those in the running for a gold medal is Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou who finished second to Jones in the 100 metres. Thanou was herself banned for two years after she failed to appear for a drugs test at the Athens 2004 Olympics.

MORE TESTS Rogge has put the fight against doping at the top of his agenda, considerably increasing tests over the past Olympics.

He said a further rise should be expected for the London 2012 Olympics with more than 5,000 tests compared to 4,500 for the Beijing Games next year.

''Zero tolerance is very important. Everyone knows that we mean business,'' Rogge said.

He said more nations should adopt the UNESCO convention that allows countries to adhere to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) doping code.

''The naked truth today is that out of 190 countries only 70 have signed the UNESCO convention,'' he said, adding that he would address the problem at next week's world conference on doping in sport in Madrid.

Rogge also said a succession process at WADA could have been done ''in a more orderly'' fashion but said the only candidate left, John Fahey, was an intelligent and capable man.

''He will do a fine job and will be supported by the Olympic movement,'' Rogge said, adding that the last-minute withdrawal of Frenchman Jean-Francois Lamour and a European reluctance to back Fahey ahead of elections next week had not affected WADA's credibility.

REUTERS RAR RK2050

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