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Aussie Olympic boss wants tougher anti-doping body

SYDNEY -- Australian Olympic chief John Coates Tuesday renewed his calls for the nation's anti-doping body to have to right to compel witnesses to give evidence as it probes doping in cycling.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) said Monday it will launch an investigation after former Olympic cyclist Matt White admitted involvement in the Lance Armstrong doping conspiracy.

In a letter to Sport Minister Kate Lundy sent Tuesday, Coates welcomed her recent comments affirming ASADA's commitment to protecting athletes' health and the integrity of Australian sport through the elimination of doping.

“I suggest that the government should again consider strengthening ASADA's powers to investigate allegations of doping practices by including the power to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence and to produce documents relevant to such investigations,” he wrote.

Coates said he could not comment on a report released last week by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on Armstrong “given my positions as President of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport and Court of Arbitration for Sport which hears all appeals under the World Anti-Doping Code.”

That report accused the renowned cyclist of being at the heart of the biggest doping conspiracy in sports history when he won seven straight Tour de France titles. Armstrong has denied any wrongdoing.

Coates, who is president of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), backed the creation of ASADA in 2005 but has argued the government has failed to give the body appropriate investigative powers.

“The AOC is committed to opposing and, if possible, eliminating, the scourge of cheating in sport through the use of drugs and prohibited methods,” he said in a 2006 government submission.

“AOC experience is that without the power to compel the giving of oral and documentary evidence, many allegations of ADRVs (anti-doping rule violations) cannot be properly investigated and prosecuted.”

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