The International Association of Athletics Federation has issued a statement strongly refuting the doping allegations made in a recent report by The Sunday Times, a British newspaper, and German broadcaster ARD/WDR that that one-third of Olympic and World Championship medal winners in long-distance running events are suspected of blood doping.
“The published allegations were sensationalist and confusing: the results referred to were not positive tests,” The IAAF said in their opening statement. “In fact, ARD and The Sunday Times both admit that their evaluation of the data did not prove doping.”
The IAAF says the data that the documentary and report were based on were not kept secret from the public and were part of a published report by the IAAF "more than four years ago."
The media outlets say they received 12,000 test results from 5,000 athletes and concluded that roughly one third of the medal winners in the highest-level distance events have recorded suspicious tests. A total of 146 Olympic and World Championships medals (including 55 gold medals) between 2001 and 2012 were won by runners who recorded suspicious tests.
The Sunday Times alleges that the IAAF did not follow-up on suspicious test results by six athletes. The IAAF says the information collected led to a follow-up and the six athletes were later banned.
The IAAF notes that a large portion of blood samples were collected before the 2009 implementation of the biological passport, a series of urine and blood samples taken to detect the presence of drug use. In 2011, the IAAF published a peer reviewed journal on their analysis of blood profiles.
“Any reporting by the ARD and The Sunday Times that the IAAF was negligent in addressing or following up the suspicious profiles is simply false, disappointing, and misinformed journalism,” the IAAF said. “To the contrary, in an attempt to catch and sanction the cheats in our sport, the IAAF has used every means available to it within the anti-doping framework it operates in.”
Since 2011, more than 150 athlete biological passports have been passed along to the IAAF Expert Panel and more are expected over the next few weeks. Of 63 “atypical” athlete biological passports, 39 have received sanctions and 24 are under proceedings at the moment.
The 2015 IAAF World Championships are set to take place in Beijing from Aug. 22 to Aug. 30.
- Christopher Chavez