FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) The ruling body of world athletics has strongly rejected suggestions that it failed to follow up on suspicious blood test results involving thousands of athletes over more than a decade.
The International Association of Athletics Federations said on Tuesday that allegations that it was negligent in following up the suspicious results were ''simply false.''
''The published allegations were sensationalist and confusing: the results referred to were not positive tests,'' the IAAF said in a lengthy statement
The statement came after German broadcaster ARD and The Sunday Times newspaper in Britain said last weekend that they had obtained access to the results of 12,000 blood tests involving 5,000 athletes. The leaked files came from the IAAF database.
The reports said that 146 medals - including 55 golds - in disciplines ranging from the 800 meters to the marathon at the Olympics and world championships were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests.
The IAAF said it published a detailed analysis of that data more than four years ago.
A large proportion of the blood samples were collected in a period before the implementation of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) and ''cannot therefore be used as proof of doping.''
Noting that ''suspicion alone does not equal proof of doping,'' the IAAF said ''we refute outright any allegation that the IAAF did not appropriately follow up suspicious profiles which had been proactively identified through its world leading blood profiling program.''
''Any reporting by the ARD and Sunday Times that the IAAF was negligent in addressing or following up the suspicious profiles is simply false, disappointing and misinformed journalism.
''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.''
The federation said that before the ABP became available, it ''systematically compiled a database of blood profiles from international athletes, and then used this database to guide its targeted, no-advance-notice, out-of-competition testing program.''
''Athletes were targeted individually, with testing timed to correlate with the most likely periods of doping as indicated by their individual profile and competition schedule,'' the IAAF said, adding that six were caught cheating and banned.
The IAAF said its doping control program ''deliberately targeted'' athletes from countries where there was insufficient out-of-competition.
The IAAF acknowledged that ''some nations'' were lagging behind in implementing a robust drug-testing program but said that progress is being made.
The two reports alleged that more than 80 of Russia's medals were won by athletes with suspicious tests, while Kenya had 18 medals won by athletes under suspicion. ARD said it has evidence of human growth hormone being used by Russian runners.
''There are clearly some nations who account for the largest percentage of suspicious blood values. The IAAF does not shy away from this fact. The IAAF also notes that those countries ... reported by the ARD and The Sunday Times ... are the very same countries'' that currently lack a ''strong, robust'' national anti-doping program backed with government support,'' the IAAF said.
The outgoing IAAF president Lamine Diack on Monday defended his organization's anti-doping record and dismissed the accusations as a ''joke.''
Diack, who will be stepping down later this month after 15 years at the helm of the IAAF, also questioned the timing of the reports, which came out three weeks before the athletics world championships in Beijing, which run from Aug. 22-30.