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Don’t go slow, Dick Pound tells Aussies
- Shane Warne controversy l World anti-doping chief issues warning

Melbourne: The world’s top anti-doping official warned Australia not to “go soft” on Shane Warne if the cricketer was found guilty of taking a banned drug.

World Anti-Doping Agency chairman Dick Pound said Australia needed to be tough on drugs after last year giving Australian Commonwealth Games shooter Phillip Adams a warning for using a banned diuretic, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

“I think Australia in general has to be very careful in a case like Warne’s,” Canada’s Pound was quoted as saying. “There has been a long history of Australia accusing everyone, but your country doesn’t have the same enthusiasm when your folks are involved,” Pound said.

“Australia has to avoid that perception of going soft on its athletes while it attacks others like the Chinese.”

Warne, Australia’s leading wicket-taker in both forms of the game, withdrew from the World Cup last week after testing positive for a banned diuretic.

The leg-spinner said he took a fluid-reducing tablet given to him by his mother last month without knowing it contained the banned substance. Warne has not said why he took the pill.

Australia have often been accused by rivals, including China, of applying double standards to athletes who fail drug tests.

Four Chinese swimmers were sent home from the 1998 world championships in Perth after testing positive for steroids a week after one of their teammates and her coach were caught at Sydney airport smuggling human growth hormone.

Hearing on Friday

Warne’s case will be held Friday and if the bowler is found guilty he would face a maximum two-year ban from international cricket. The hearing will be held at the Australian Cricket Board’s (ACB) headquarters in Melbourne, it was announced Wednesday.

The ACB has named a three-member panel to hear Warne’s case. The members are Queensland judge Glen Williams, former Test spinner and selector Peter Taylor and Dr Susan White.

Warne will possibly cite his battle with the flab for taking the pill. His defence, so far, is that he was given a weight loss tablet by his mother and was unaware it contained the banned substances. The Australian Sports Drug Agency has released Warne’s B sample result to the ACB.

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