MANILA, Phillipines -- The International Amateur Athletic Federation has imposed lifetime bans on eight athletes for alleged drug abuse and is forming a new Grand Prix track and field circuit, officials said Monday.
Members of the IAAF executive council, ending a three-day meeting in Manila, announced strict new anti-doping measures and formation of the Grand Prix tour to centralize international athletic competition.
IAAF officials said four of the eight banned athletes had competed in the Pan American Games in Venezuela, where widespread drug violations were reported. The four were Juan de la Cruz and Juan Nunez of the Dominican Republic and Cubans Maria Cristina Betancourt Ramirez and Rosa Fernandez.
The remaining banned athletes were Eliosio Rios of Portugal, Lars Erik Kallstrom of Sweden, Darius Juzyszyn of Poland and Agnes Herczeg of Hungary.
IAAF President Primo Nebiolo said the eight athletes have 18 months to appeal the decision through their national federations. The IAAF also decided to field so-called 'flying squads' to conduct random drug tests at international meets.
Nebiolo said that before world records would be ratified, the athletes involved would be required to submit to an anti-doping test. Tests are already a standard procedure at larger sporting events, but Nebiolo said smaller international competitions have gone unmonitored.
The establishment of an IAAF-sponsored Grand Prix circuit is aimed at controlling independent promoters in lucrative track and field promotions, officials said. Nebiolo said the circuit will include about 28 international meets, with a grand championship at the end of the year.
The new tour, as with the current experimental tours in the U.S., will use a point system based on performance, similar to professional tennis or car racing, Nebiolo said. He said athletes will be entitled to appearance or participation money, but the actual funds will go to their respective national federations.
In another ruling, the IAAF decided to prohibit Olympic and World Cup athletes from changing the brand names of their shoes in the semifinals and finals. Athletes will also be required to notify the IAAF of the type of shoes they will be wearing at the beginning of the competition.