Nadal, Farah de­fend med­i­cal records a er new hack

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

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 Septem­ber 19.

The two su­per­stars 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 vi­o­lated dop­ing reg­u­la­tions, how­ever.

Span­ish ten­nis ace Nadal and four-time 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 the fourth batch to have their med­i­cal his­tory pub­lished by Fancy Bears, fol­low­ing the likes of Ser­ena and Venus Wil­liams, Amer­i­can gym­nast Si­mone Biles 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 painkillers 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.” – TAI­WAN’S Par­a­lympians said yes­ter­day they were forced to change team badges on their uni­forms in Rio af­ter protests by China, the lat­est sign of wors­en­ing ties with Bei­jing.

The team said they were in­formed by the In­ter­na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee (IPC) about China’s ob­jec­tion to their team em­blem two weeks be­fore de­par­ture for the games, even though it was ap­proved by the IPC in 2003.

In­stead they were asked to use an al­tered badge which looked more like the sym­bol of Tai­wan’s Bei­jing-friendly op­po­si­tion party, the Kuom­intang.

“China re­quested the change from the na­tional em­blem to the [Kuom­intang] party em­blem,” team leader Chen Li-chou said dur­ing a re­cep­tion hosted by Pres­i­dent Tsai Ing-wen.

“We can feel that our in­ter­na­tional sit­u­a­tion is grave from this in­ci­dent.”

Al­though Tai­wan is self-rul­ing, China still con­sid­ers it part of its ter­ri­tory await­ing re­uni­fi­ca­tion. Names, ti­tles, em­blems and flags used by Tai­wanese at in­ter­na­tional events are par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive.

Tai­wan is forced to com­pete un­der the Olympic flag as Chi­nese Taipei, and does the same at other in­ter­na­tional sports com­pe­ti­tions.

Lo­cal me­dia de­scribed the Par­a­lympics badge in­ci­dent as sup­pres­sion by China, and the dis­clo­sure trig­gered anger on­line.

“The Chi­nese com­mu­nists shouldn’t get to de­cide in­ter­na­tional sports rules. It is bul­ly­ing like this that makes Tai­wanese peo­ple dis­like them and not want any­thing to do with them,” read one com­ment on the news web­site Storm Me­dia.

The KMT gov­ern­ment was top­pled by Tsai’s Bei­jing-scep­tic Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party at elec­tions in Jan­uary and since then ties with China have be­come in­creas­ingly frosty.

In June, China axed a visit by a pop­u­lar Tai­wanese children’s choir af­ter they sang the na­tional an­them at Tsai’s in­au­gu­ra­tion.

There has also been a spate of de­por­ta­tions of Tai­wanese fraud sus­pects to Bei­jing rather than Taipei by coun­tries that do not recog­nise the is­land. –

Pho­tos: AFP, EPA

Four­teen-time Grand Slam win­ner Rafael Nadal (left) and Mo Farah, who won golds for Bri­tain in the men’s 10,000-me­tre and 5000m events at the 2016 Rio Olympics, were among the 26 ath­letes named in the lat­est hack of the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency records.

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