Paris, Aug 5 (IANS) World governing body of athletics IAAF has “strongly” rejected media reports on widespread doping in the sport.
“The IAAF takes the allegations published by The Sunday Times and ARD very seriously and has investigated them thoroughly,” said the nine-page statement by the International Association of Athletics Federations on Tuesday, reports Xinhua.
This is the first official reaction to the affair after German television channel ARD and British newspaper The Sunday Times alleged over the weekend to have obtained a database of 12,000 tests taken on 5,000 athletes which revealed extraordinary levels of doping.
According to the reports, more than 800 athletes in disciplines ranging from the 800 meters to the marathon had recorded one or more “abnormal” results, while 146 medals, including 55 golds, at the Olympics and world championships during 2001-2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests.
“The published allegations were sensationalist and confusing: the results referred to were not positive tests. In fact, ARD and The Sunday Times both admit that their evaluation of the data did not prove doping,” said the IAAF.
The athletics world governing body condemned the publication of “private” information, and said “the data on which the reports were based was not ‘secret’ – the IAAF published a detailed analysis of this data more than four years ago.”
“Ethically, I deplore public comments coming from colleagues on blood data that has been obtained and processed outside of the strict regulatory framework established by WADA which is designed to ensure a complete and fair review of ABP profiles,” the IAAF quoted Professor Giuseppe d’Onofrio.
“There is no space for shortcuts, simplistic approaches or sensationalism when athletes’ careers and reputations are at stake,” added d’Onofrio, described as “one of the world’s leading haematologists working as an expert in the field of the Athlete Biological Passport” by the IAAF.
According to the organisation, a large proportion of these blood samples were collected before the implementation of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) and could not therefore be used as proof of doping.
“The IAAF wants to stamp out all doping in sport and welcomes greater public debate. There is no perfect system for catching drug cheats, but the IAAF has been at the forefront of drug testing for many years,” read the statement.
“Under its pioneering Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) system, more athletes have been banned for cheating by the IAAF than all other sports federations and national anti-doping agencies put together,” it added.