Nadal, Farah de­fend med­i­cal records af­ter new hack

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

RAFAEL NADAL and Bri­tish Olympic great Mo Farah said they have noth­ing to hide af­ter their med­i­cal records were the lat­est to be leaked by a cy­ber-hack­ing group on Mon­day.

They are among more than 60 in­ter­na­tional ath­letes, in­clud­ing 17 from the Bri­tish team at the Rio Olympics, who have had their med­i­cal files – mostly ther­a­peu­tic use ex­emp­tions (TUEs) – pub­lished on­line by the so-called Fancy Bears, who have hacked into World An­tiDop­ing Agency (WADA) records.

There is no sug­ges­tion that any of the named ath­letes – among them some of the big­gest names in sport – have done any­thing wrong.

Span­ish ten­nis ace Nadal and four­time Olympic cham­pion dis­tance run­ner Farah were shown to have used TUEs in the past to gain per­mis­sion to take sub­stances that fig­ure on WADA’s banned list.

TUEs can be is­sued to ath­letes who have an ill­ness or con­di­tion that re­quires the use of nor­mally pro­hib­ited med­i­ca­tion.

“When you ask per­mis­sion to take some­thing for ther­a­peu­tic rea­sons and they give it to you, you’re not tak­ing any­thing pro­hib­ited,” Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam win­ner, told Span­ish me­dia.

“It’s not news, it’s just in­flam­ma­tory.”

Nadal, who has twice been granted a TUE, said he had never taken any­thing to im­prove his per­for­mance but took what doc­tors ad­vised him was the best med­i­ca­tion to care for his trou­ble­some knee.

Far from com­plain­ing about the leak of his files – be­lieved to be the work of Rus­sian hack­ers – Nadal said he would sup­port the pub­lish­ing of all med­i­cal records.

“It would be much more ben­e­fi­cial for sports­men and women, spec­ta­tors and me­dia that ev­ery time a drug test is taken the news is made public and two weeks later there are the results,” he added.

“This would end the prob­lem. Sport has to take a step for­ward and be to­tally trans­par­ent. I have been say­ing this for years.”

Nadal and Farah were among 26 ath­letes in Mon­day’s fourth batch to have their med­i­cal his­tory pub­lished by Fancy Bears, fol­low­ing the likes of Ser­ena and Venus Wil­liams, Amer­i­can gym­nast Si­mone Biles, golfer Justine Rose and Bri­tish Tour de France-win­ning cy­clists Bradley Wig­gins and Chris Froome.

There is no sug­ges­tion they are in­volved in any wrong­do­ing but the leak­ing of their records has re­opened the de­bate about TUEs and in par­tic­u­lar whether the sys­tem is open to abuse from com­peti­tors gain­ing an ad­van­tage by tak­ing banned drugs.

The first of Farah’s two TUEs was in 2008 for the same drug pre­scribed to fel­low Olympic cham­pion Wig­gins – tri­am­ci­nolone, a type of steroid.

His other ex­emp­tion was for a saline drip and two pain-killers that the 33-year-old was given af­ter he col­lapsed in Park City, Utah, where he was train­ing at alti­tude in 2014.

He orig­i­nally said this 2014 TUE was his only one at a press con­fer­ence in Birm­ing­ham last June when asked about his coach Al­berto Salazar, who re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the United States Anti-Dop­ing Agency (USADA).

But a few weeks later in an in­ter­view with Sky Sports News he men­tioned the 2008 tri­am­ci­nolone in­jec­tion.

A spokesper­son for Farah said: “As Mo has pre­vi­ously stated, he has got noth­ing to hide and doesn’t have a prob­lem with this or any of his (med­i­cal) in­for­ma­tion be­ing re­leased – as ev­i­denced by the fact that he vol­un­tar­ily shared his blood data with the Sun­day Times last year.

“Mo’s med­i­cal care is over­seen at all times by Bri­tish Ath­let­ics and over the course of his long ca­reer he has only ever had two TUEs.” – AFP

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