D is for drugs. It is also for doctor - Dr Julian Chang, the chief medical officer of the Hong Kong Olympic squad. The good doctor is a cynic. He says, get ready to be fooled in Beijing. 'I have become very cynical,' admits Chang. 'Next month, we will be watching all the action from Beijing, but how sure are we the athletes are not on drugs. Just look at Marion Jones.' Let's make it clear. Chang is not worried about Hong Kong's 35-strong athletic contingent being high on anabolic steroids. He says local athletes are not at that competitive level where taking drugs would mean the difference between winning gold and having to settle for second or third-best. 'I'm talking about the top bracket of athletes, those who are in the world top 10 in their sports. They are the ones who could be tempted to take drugs. And I'm sure there will be many of them in Beijing. Whether they get caught is another matter,' Chang predicts. He talks from experience. Walking into his medical practice in Central - he is an orthopaedic surgeon - you cannot fail to realise he is Hong Kong sport's medicine man. One wall of his office is covered by diplomas from the various Games he has attended, starting from Seoul in 1988 and then every other Olympics and Asian Games after that. His other wall is swathed with medical diplomas. 'It saves having to use wallpaper,' jokes Chang. But he is proud of his achievement of keeping Hong Kong athletes on the straight and narrow ever since the 1988 Games when a medical team was first assigned to the squad. Under his watch, only one athlete has tested positive - female hurdler Chan Sau-ying who in June 1997 tested positive for the stimulant ephedrine after an event in Zagreb. Chan, who had been training overseas, said it was an accident as the drug was present in a cold remedy - Lemsip - which she had been taking for flu. When the problem hit home, Chang said at the time that efforts should be doubled to educate Hong Kong's sportsmen and women. 'What she did was forgivable but not excusable. We had told them again and again to make sure they do not take anything without medical advice. It's like teaching children in a class, no matter how many times you tell them, they don't listen.' But apparently they are listening now. This month, the Beijing-bound squad, and the equestrian athletes, had to attend a seminar where Chang hammered home the dos and the don'ts. In the past, athletes had to provide a certificate of good health, but that was waived as all the athletes are full-time at the Sports Institute, which conducts regular check-ups. Chang is quite certain that Hong Kong athletes are not on stimulants, steroids or diuretics. That might not be the case with others. 'Athletes are pressured into taking drugs today because of the money,' he says. 'They get huge endorsements from sponsors and this drives them to do two things, either use drugs to enhance performance, or take drugs to speed up recovery from injury. And the designer drugs they take are undetectable.' It took many years before American sprinter Jones - the darling of the Sydney Olympics - finally came clean that she was a fraud. She is languishing in jail now not because of taking drugs, but due to lying before a grand jury. Unless you criminalise drug usage, the athletes will continue to pop pills and get a rush on injections. Four years ago, the Athens Olympics was branded as the dirtiest Games. By the time the flame was extinguished, 24 doping violations had been uncovered. That was double the previous high - 12 at the Los Angeles Games in 1984. For the first time, three would-be champions were stripped of their gold medals - Russian shot put champion Irina Korzhanenko tested positive for stanozolol, the crude steroid which Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson had used 16 years earlier. Hungarian discus thrower Robert Fazekas compatriot Adrian Annus, a hammer thrower both lost theirs for refusing to give urine samples. A number of other lesser medals were taken away and many athletes were told to pack their bags and leave the athletes' village. Even the hosts were not spared. Two of their most high-profile stars, Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, withdrew under suspicious circumstances. More than 3,000 tests were carried out at Athens - a 25 per cent increase on Sydney 2000. And for the first time blood tests, previously limited to endurance sports, were made compulsory across the board. But still they cheated. IOC president Jacques Rogge refused to be downbeat. He said: 'We are making major progress against doping because it is becoming more and more difficult to cheat.' That might be so. But it hasn't been a deterrent. The rewards are too great. Chang is nostalgic for the days when athletes were amateurs and had no agendas other than to perform to the best of their natural ability. 'I get a bigger thrill watching old clips of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile barrier than watching current-day athletes. I have become disillusioned. I will be in Beijing wondering how many of these men and women are cheats,' says Chang. Yes, D is for drugs, but it could also be for us dopes, too.