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Athletics: AIU must recruit more investigators

(Reuters) - The Athletics Integrity Unit needs more investigators to deal with violations in the sport, the chair of the organization said.

The AIU replaced the International Association of Athletics Federations's former anti-doping department in April and is an independent body that handles aspects including testing, intelligence and investigations related to misconduct within the sport.

While David Howman said he was pleased with the progress of the organization ahead of World Athletics Championships that begin in London on Friday, he underlined the need to hire the right investigators.

"We have a huge remit, we have a mandate which covers things from anti-doping to age manipulation. We need to have investigators to look at issues when they rise," Howman told Reuters TV.

"We need to make sure that we've got the right people in those places to conduct those investigations."

It was not immediately clear how many investigators the unit already has.

The AIU will collect more than 600 blood and urine samples prior to the championships as part of their anti-doping campaign and Howman could not guarantee that all athletes will be clean but expressed his confidence in the program.

"You can't guarantee that human behavior is such that won't happen," he said.

"So what we can do is say we're going to have best practice, best anti-doping program you could possibly have at the moment based on information and intelligence gathering and we'll see the outcome following the event."

Howman said their existing measures could help them expose multiple athletes and officials in a single investigation and says that an indicator of the organization's success would be clean athletes acknowledging its progress.

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams)