Friday 21 October 2016

Media leak hints at mass doping

WADA to check out 'wild allegations' after IAAF secret data is released

Craig Reedie
Craig Reedie

Leaks of confidential doping data threw global athletics into chaos yesterday, after a newspaper and a broadcaster said a third of medals in Olympic and world championship endurance races from 2001-2012 were won by runners with suspicious blood.

Britain's Sunday Times and Germany's ARD/WDR broadcaster said they had obtained the secret data from the vaults of the global athletics governing body, the IAAF, supplied by a whistleblower "disgusted" by the extent of doping.

The news organisations said they had shown the data to two experts, who concluded that track and field endurance events were in the same dire state as cycling had been at the peak of a doping scandal that nearly destroyed that sport, when American Lance Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour de France victories.

The IAAF did not immediately address the substance of the reports but said it was preparing a response and noted they were based on confidential information obtained without permission. The World Anti-Doping Agency said it was "very disturbed".

WADA's president Craig Reedie, at a session meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said: "These are wild allegations, wide allegations and we will check them out and have that done with the commission as quickly as possible."

The Sunday Times and ARD said they were given access to the results of over 12,000 blood tests provided by more than 5,000 athletes between 2001 and 2012. More than 800 of the athletes had recorded one or more "abnormal" results, defined as a result that had less than one chance in 100 of being natural.

Between them, those athletes accounted for 146 medals at top events, including 55 golds.

Russia accounted for by far the most suspicious results, with 415 abnormal tests.

The allegations are likely to overshadow the biennial world athletics championships, which begin in 20 days in Beijing.

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