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Athletics Doping Crisis

Athletics Doping Crisis Claims ‘Very Alarming’

WT24 Desk

One third of the medals awarded to athletes at top-level endurance events, Olympic Games and World championships were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious drug tests, according to a report in The Sunday Times. The newspaper and German broadcaster ARD/WDR have gained access to a database of 12,000 blood-test results from 5,000 international athletes.

The data, which was kept at the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Monaco headquarters, was reportedly released by a whistle-blower. It reveals that as many as 55 gold medals have been awarded to athletes with suspicious results. Two anti-doping experts – scientist Robin Parisotto and exercise physiologist Michael Ashenden – reviewed the files for The Sunday Times.

Mr Parisotto, who regularly reviews athletes’ blood-test results, told the newspaper: “Never have I seen such an alarmingly abnormal set of blood values.”So many athletes appear to have doped with impunity and it is damning that the IAAF appears to have idly sat by and let this happen.”Other disclosures made after analysis of the data include a claim that more than 800 athletes recorded blood-test results described as “highly suggestive of doping or at the very least abnormal”.

The newspaper also reported that 10 medals at the London 2012 Olympics were won by athletes who recorded dubious tests results. It is also alleged that a top UK athlete is among seven Britons with “suspicious” blood scores. Mr Ashenden said the IAAF had committed “a shameful betrayal of their primary duty to police their sport and to protect clean athletes”. The IAAF reportedly threatened to take out an injunction to prevent publication of the files.

It said the newspaper “is in unlawful possession of the IAAF’s entire blood-testing database of over 12,000 samples covering the years 2001-2012, or at least a very substantial part of it”. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it was “very alarmed” by the allegations. WADA president Sir Craig Reedie said: “Wada is very disturbed by these new allegations that have been raised by ARD; which will, once again, shake the foundation of clean athletes worldwide.”

He said that given the nature of the claims, they would be immediately passed on to the organisation’s Independent Commission to investigate further. Sir Craig stressed the allegations were unproven and athletes are considered innocent until proven guilty. “It is wrong just to make any kind of assumption on allegations in the media,” he said. IAAF vice president Sergei Bubka said the organisation will also investigate the claims and cooperate with the WADA.

He said: “We will collaborate very closely and we will not accept any violation of the rule. “Everyone should know – there is no space for cheaters, not in athletics, not in other sport, not in the Olympic Movement. “The IAAF position is always zero-tolerance for doping.” The International Olympic Committee said it was aware of the reports.

“We have confidence in WADA to make sure they have a full and proper inquiry,” spokesman Mark Adams said.

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