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WADA gets tough on athletes with coaches involved in doping

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TOKYO (AP) Athletes who become involved with coaches who have a previous doping record will be punished by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Changes to the World Anti-Doping Code take into account that athletes rarely act individually when using banned substances, WADA president Craig Reedie said on Wednesday at a conference WADA held with the pharmaceutical community.

The revised code with a ''prohibited association'' clause came into force on Jan. 1.

''The issue of entourage has been picked up in the new version of the World Anti-Doping Code,'' Reedie said. ''In our experience, there are relatively few athletes who deliberately, individually, take doping substances. There is almost always somebody else involved. That's why there are specific conditions in the new code to deal with that.

''This will be difficult to enforce, but WADA believes that should certainly help.''

The tougher codes are in large part a response to allegations of systematic doping in Russia that involved coaches assisting athletes to obtain banned substances.

The conference was attended by leading organizations in the anti-doping, sport and pharmaceutical industries with the goal of improving information sharing and collaboration to tackle doping in sport and society.

''One of WADA's main priorities is to further develop partnerships with pharmaceutical companies,'' Reedie said.

Last year, WADA signed a deal with leading U.S.-based drugmaker Pfizer to share information about new performance-enhancing substances.