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WADA doubles doping bans

World Anti-Doping Agency

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President John Fahey looks on before the WADA Media Symposium at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne in this February 27, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files

© Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Serious doping offenders will miss at least one Olympics.

The World Anti-Doping Agency doubled its bans for drug cheats from two years to four years, as expected, at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg on Friday.

They will go into effect beginning Jan. 1, 2015, along with the new WADA Code.

The term “serious doping offenders” is key. If an athlete takes a banned substance unintentionally, or if he or she tests positive for a drug such as marijuana, they can avoid a serious ban.

WADA also is putting greater emphasis on punishing those who support athletes, such as coaches and trainers who could assist in doping.

WADA has been dissatisfied with doping controls in track and field powerhouses Jamaica and Kenya in recent months.

“It is bad,” Kenyan David Rudisha, the 800m world-record holder, said of his country’s doping image, according to Reuters. “The faster they tackle the matter the better for our country’s image.

“Not all of us are cheats, some may have been (mis)led into abusing drugs.”

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the world’s greatest female sprinter, threatened not to compete if her nation’s officials don’t stand by their athletes.

“We don’t have a doping issue -- we are tested wherever we go,” she said, according to the BBC. “There is no one in Jamaica saying, ‘Let’s dope up to run fast.’ That is just not true. Where we have issues is with our young athletes who are getting involved in doping issues because nobody is there to give guidance.”

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