WADA to in­ves­ti­gate new ath­let­ics dop­ing claims

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN WIL­SON

The World Anti- Dop­ing Agency ( WADA) is alarmed by “wild al­le­ga­tions” made by two Euro­pean media out­lets of wide­spread sus­pi­cious drug tests in track and field, and is ask­ing an in­de­pen­dent body to in­ves­ti­gate.

WADA Pres­i­dent Craig Reedie said Sun­day he was sur­prised by the scale of the al­le­ga­tions, in­clud­ing that one- third of medals in en­durance races at the Olympics and world cham­pi­onships over a 10- year pe­riod were won by ath­letes who recorded sus­pi­cious dop­ing tests.

Ger­man broad­caster ARD and The Sun­day Times news­pa­per in Bri­tain said they ob­tained ac­cess to the re­sults of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 ath­letes. The files came from the data­base of the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions and were leaked by a whistle­blower, ac­cord­ing to the re­ports.

The In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions ( IAAF) and WADA were al­ready in­ves­ti­gat­ing ac­cu­sa­tions made in two pre­vi­ous ARD doc­u­men­taries of al­leged sys­tem­atic dop­ing and cover- ups in Rus­sia.

Reedie said the ma­te­rial from the new ARD pro­gram and The Sun­day Times would be turned over im­me­di­ately to WADA’s in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion for in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“These are wild al­le­ga­tions, wide al­le­ga­tions, and we’ll have to check them out and we’ll have done that by the com­mis­sion as quickly as pos­si­ble,” Reedie said in Kuala Lumpur, where he was at­tend­ing In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee meet­ings.

Reedie stressed the al­le­ga­tions were un­proven and ath­letes are as­sumed in­no­cent un­til found guilty.

“It is wrong just to make any kind of as­sump­tion on al­le­ga­tions in the me- dia,” he said.

The ARD pro­gram, called “Dop­ing Top Se­cret: The Shad­owy World of Ath­let­ics,” was broad­cast three weeks be­fore the world cham­pi­onships in Bei­jing, which run from Aug. 22- 30.

In a sep­a­rate state­ment is­sued by WADA, Reedie said the new al­le­ga­tions “will, once again, shake the foun­da­tion of clean ath­letes world­wide.”

ARD and The Sun­day Times asked Aus­tralian anti- dop­ing spe­cial­ists Robin Parisotto and Michael Ashen­den to re­view the blood test­ing re­sults from the pe­riod from 2001 to 2012. They re­ported that 800 ath­letes, com­pet­ing in dis­ci­plines rang­ing from the 800 me­ters to the marathon, reg­is­tered blood val­ues that are con­sid­ered sus­pi­cious un­der WADA stan­dards.

Alarm­ingly Ab­nor­mal

The re­port found that 146 medals — in­clud­ing 55 golds — in those dis­ci­plines at the Olympics and world cham­pi­onships were won by ath­letes who have recorded sus­pi­cious tests. None of the ath­letes have been stripped of those medals, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

“Never have I seen such an alarm­ingly ab­nor­mal set of blood val­ues,” Parisotto said. “So many ath­letes ap­pear to have doped with im­punity.”

No ath­letes were iden­ti­fied, and the ev­i­dence is not proof of dop­ing.

The re­ports also al­leged that more than 80 of Rus­sia’s medals were won by ath­letes with sus­pi­cious tests, while Kenya had 18 medals won by sus­pi­cious ath­letes. ARD said it has ev­i­dence of hu­man growth hor­mone be­ing used by Rus­sian run­ners.

The IAAF said it was aware of “se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions made against the in­tegrity and com­pe­tence of its anti- dop­ing pro­gram.”

“They are largely based on anal­y­sis of an IAAF data base of pri­vate and con­fi­den­tial med­i­cal data which has been ob­tained with­out con­sent,” the fed­er­a­tions said in a state­ment, adding that it re­serves the right to take ac­tion to “pro­tect the rights of the IAAF and its ath­letes.”

IAAF vice pres­i­dent Sergei Bubka said the fed­er­a­tion would look into the al­le­ga­tions and co­op­er­ate with WADA.

“We will col­lab­o­rate very closely and we will not ac­cept any vi­o­la­tion of the rule,” said Bubka, who also sits on the IOC ex­ec­u­tive board. “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 IOC was also aware of the ac­cu­sa­tions. “It’s up to the WADA com­mis­sion to gather ev­i­dence,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “We have full con­fi­dence in them.”

The pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean ath­let­ics fed­er­a­tion, Svein Arne Hansen, said the al­le­ga­tions “are a cause for deep dis­may and yet another in­di­ca­tion of how much we as a sport still have to do to en­sure that ath­let­ics is free of dop­ing and seen to be fair and clean.”

AP

Pres­i­dent of the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency Craig Reedie leaves af­ter at­tend­ing the 128th In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) ses­sion in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sun­day, Aug. 2.

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