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Cheating Claimed by Sailing Chief

May 16, 2002

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LONDON (AP) _ The integrity of Olympic sailing is threatened by ``rampant″ cheating, the international sailing federation’s president says.

In a statement posted on the ISAF Web site, Paul Henderson said sailing at Olympic level was ``out of control″ and urged the ISAF to act before it ``totally loses the integrity of the sport.″

``What is happening is analogous to taking performance enhancing drugs in other sports,″ he said. ``They are both cheating.″

Henderson recently visited Olympic class regattas in Hyeres, France, and Miami and said ``the cheating was rampant.″

He said sailors had a ``complete disrespect″ of the propulsion rule, particularly in the Star, Finn, Europe and Laser classes. The propulsion rule limits pumping of the sail and rocking the boat to gain extra speed.

Henderson also accused sailors of wearing weighted lifejackets and sweaters to carry extra weight.

He said the problem lay in judges not enforcing the rules strictly enough. He wants judges to travel the courses in inflatable boats and use a soccer-style yellow and red card penalty system.

``ISAF juries are excellent at hearing protests and assessing penalties fairly but ill-equipped to be police on the race course checking for those who are not playing by the rules,″ Henderson said.

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