As sure as Jana’s drama, Asafa’s victory,
and Australia’s increasingly ridiculous medal tally, drug testing was always
going to make headlines at the Commonwealth Games.

But it was how drugs finally made it into
the headlines that’s worth noting. Essentially, they are in the news today for
not being in the news.

In an embarrassing leak for organisers
yesterday, news of two positive drug tests returned by Indian weightlifters led to
some awkward questions being asked of Ron Walker and Co during a press
conference. What followed was an entertaining game of verbal ring-a-ring-a-rosie.

When asked if there was anything to report
on positive drugs tests in Melbourne, Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive
Mike Hooper said:
“When and if there is something to say in relation to the drug-testing program,
we will do so. We are not withholding anything. We’re doing what we’re supposed
to do in relation to a robust anti-doping program.”

But Mike, we already know about the Indian
weightlifters.

This evasiveness raised suspicions that the
Federation is hiding news of other positive tests. When asked his position, Ron
Walker, baulking at the question, said: “(The CGF) is an authority that is
separate to the organising committee and the State Government. It’s under
control of Senator (Federal Sports Minister Rod) Kemp and his people, and if
there are delays it’s up to the Federal Government to take care of that.”

Senator Kemp later corrected that
falsehood, saying: “These are procedures that are under control of the CGF … ”

But the CGF isn’t saying anything, and you
suspect that’s how Walker wants it. In fact, it’s hard to believe this isn’t a
pre-agreed strategy.

At the Winter Olympics in Torino, news of
positive drug tests swamped the media days before the games had started and
continued through the event. In the carefully media-managed environment of the Melbourne
Games, the organising committee looks to have decided the good vibes of M2006
will not be spoiled by news of positive drug tests.

Expect some answers when the world’s media
has packed up and gone home, and the Australian public couldn’t possibly fit in
another morsel of Games news.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW