WADA urges athletes to report privacy breaches to inquiry
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The World Anti-Doping Agency invited athletes on Friday to come forward if they feel their privacy was breached by leaked results of suspicious blood tests.
WADA said its independent commission will ''urgently'' investigate the allegations of widespread doping in athletics aired by German broadcaster ARD.
''WADA is committed to protecting the confidentiality of athletes,'' WADA president Craig Reedie said in a statement. ''I ask that any athlete, or anti-doping organization, concerned that their rights are being eroded or inappropriately challenged, refer those concerns to the commission.''
The inquiry, led by IOC member and former WADA head Dick Pound, began after ARD alleged systematic doping in Russian athletics last December.
A follow-up program broadcast last Sunday alleged that IAAF files showed 800 suspicious results in blood samples from 5,000 athletes in the years from 2001-12. ARD and British newspaper The Sunday Times suggested the IAAF did not act on the evidence.
''WADA deplores the manner in which this data was obtained, leaked to the media and analyzed,'' Reedie said. ''To suggest or imply doping with respect to any athlete whose data is contained within the database is, at the very least, irresponsible and potentially libelous.''
Reedie pledged on Monday that the allegations would be referred to Pound's team, which is due to report this year.
''We are confident that the IAAF, which has formally agreed to full cooperation with the commission with respect to its inquiries, is equally committed,'' Reedie said.
WADA said some of the tests in the database come from before the introduction of the biological passport program that was introduced in 2009 to monitor an athlete's blood profile over time for evidence of doping.
''This data could not possibly be considered doping, legally or otherwise,'' WADA director general David Howman said.
The International Association of Athletics Federations, which has also condemned the leak and disputed the test results as clear evidence of doping, said Friday it had agreed to send its full database with pre-2009 data to WADA.
''The IAAF is aware that certain media representatives have contacted athletes requesting permission for their confidential medical data to be made public,'' the organization said. ''It is for this exact reason that the IAAF deplores the way this data was obtained and analyzed without consent.''