The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports


Japanese climber dies on Mt. Everest

Posted: 13 May 2011 06:33 AM PDT

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP): A Japanese climber who became ill while attempting to scale Mount Everest died just several hundred feet (metres) from the summit, a Nepalese official said Friday.

Takashi Ozaki was headed down the slopes of the Everest on Thursday after feeling sick when he collapsed at an altitude of 28,200 feet (8,600metres), Department of Mountaineering official Tilak Pandey said. He died that afternoon.

Pandey said attempts are being made to bring down the body of the 59-year-old climber, and it most likely will be picked up on Saturday by a helicopter from a lower camp.

Ozaki was attempting to reach the 29,035-foot (8,850-metre) summit with a team of international climbers. He is the third climber to die this year while attempting to climb the world's highest peak from the southern side. More than 200 climbers are known to have died while attempting to climb Everest.

In 1996, Ozaki became the first climber to summit Mt. Hkakabo Razi, Myanmar's highest peak at 19,294 feet (5,881 metres), according to the Uemura Naomi Memorial Museum, a private foundation that gives out awards in the name of the famous Japanese climber.

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UCI deplores leak of Tour doping 'suspicion index'

Posted: 13 May 2011 06:31 AM PDT

PARIS (AP): Cycling's governing body condemned the leak Friday of a confidential document that ranks riders at last year's Tour de France on a scale of doping suspicion.

French sports daily L'Equipe published what it said was UCI's "index of suspicion" for all 198 riders from the 2010 Tour on a grade of 0-10, with 10 being the highest level of suspicion and 0 the lowest.

"The UCI deplores the leak," UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told The Associated Press by telephone. "The list exists, yes, we haven't hidden that."

Carpani said the list was meant as a "working tool" to support the drug-testing process. He said the UCI would issue a formal statement later Friday. Two riders were listed at 10, one at 9 and several more at 8. Most of the riders scored below 4.

The ratings were based on readings drawn from each rider's biological passport profile before the Tour, including the latest blood tests on July 1, two days before the start of the race. Several cyclists criticized the existence of the list.

"I'm all for catching cheats but draw the line at this sort of thing which could be based on 1 single wayward statistic," Australian rider Robbie McEwen, a former three-time green jersey sprint champion on the Tour, said on Twitter. "And who leaked it??"

Sprint champion Mark Cavendish of Britain, a multiple sprint-stage winner at the Tour, also expressed his view on Twitter. "So theres a leaked 1-10 'suspicion' scale for all 2010 TourDeFrance riders," he said. "So now EVERYONE'S suspicious, but just HOW suspicious?!"

There was one doping case at last year's Tour, with winner Alberto Contador testing positive for clenbuterol during a rest day. He blamed the finding on eating contaminated beef and was cleared by the Spanish cycling federation. Contador's case is currently under appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The list was handed to UCI anti-doping officials at the race, as well as drug-testing observers from the World Anti-Doping Agency, according to L'Equipe. There was no immediate reply to an e-mail sent to WADA for confirmation that it had received the list.

Scores of 0 and 1 on the UCI list indicated riders who were considered to have extremely clean records, according to L'Equipe, while rankings between 2 and 4 were based on passport profiles that fluctuated at a specific time but were otherwise normal.

Scores ranging from 6 to 10 indicated a high level of circumstantial evidence pointing to potential doping because of a recurrence of fluctuations in passport profiles or alleged doping at previous races such as the Giro d'Italia and Spanish Vuelta, L'Equipe said.

One example of a fluctuating passport profile is a sudden drop in hemoglobin in the weeks leading up to the Tour. This constitutes circumstantial evidence, because it could indicate a rider extracting his own blood and then reinjecting it to boost performance.

Variations in hematocrit levels were also monitored, a standard part of anti-doping procedures in cycling.

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