Nadal Criticizes Ruling To Destroy Doping Evidence

Rafael Nadal of Spain has criticized the decision to destroy evidence in the doping scandal of his country.

Dr Eufemiano Fuentes was recently convicted for his role in supplying blood transfusions to cyclists but a Spanish court ordered 211 blood bags to be destroyed without analysis. The doctor received a suspended sentence of one year for endangering public health and has claimed that he has worked with tennis players as well as runners, footballers, and boxers.

Nadal said the ruling was not positive for anyone and the only ones that benefited were those who cheated and the ones that are hurt are Spanish athletes and sports in general. The former world number one, who has won 11 grand slams, also remarked the image this transmits to the world isn’t the one we were hoping for and said he thinks it is a mistake that the names (of Fuentes’ clients) are not known, but that is what happened. Nadal also remarked that we will keep working so that sports stay clean and this doesn’t happen again in the future.

Britain’s Andy Murray had had already questioned the outcome of the case and tweeted, “Why would court order blood bags to be destroyed? #coverup.”

Murray criticized Spanish officials for their handling of the Operation Puerto trial, asking if they could be guilty of the “biggest cover-up in sports history”. “Case is beyond a joke,” tweeted Murray. He said it was essential that anyone who was involved should be named and remarked if one in 100 is doping then, in my eyes, that isn’t a clean sport and we need to do everything we can to ensure we have everyone that’s competing at the highest level and below is clean. He went on to add that he knows what goes in his body and he knows from his side that he is clean, so that’s all he can comment on.

Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria denied access to anti-doping authorities and international sports bodies that wanted to analyze the bags to see whether they implicate athletes in sports other than cycling; Santamaria ordered that the bags be destroyed.

The International Tennis Federation announced in March this year that it was to implement an Athlete Biological Passport program under which biological data will be collected and compared to spot discrepancies over time that suggest possible doping. This announcement came in the wake of questions raised by some of the sport’s top players about existing drug-testing procedures that focused mainly on urine tests.

A statement issued by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), on the Fuentes case, said it hopes this is not the end of the matter and it reads that access to this evidence motivated WADA’s involvement in this case and this would ensure appropriate sports sanction processes against the cheats who used Dr Fuentes’ services. The statement reads the court did consider that his conduct was a crime against public health. Dick Pound, the former head of WADA, added that it’s embarrassing for Spain and everybody knows we will be able to uncover quite a bit more doping if the examples are made available.

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