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Wednesday 17, Dec 2014

  Dick Pound to Lead WADA Probe Into Russian Systematic Doping Allegations

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Dick Pound to Lead WADA Probe Into Russian Systematic Doping Allegations

An independent commission has been set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to investigate allegations of widespread and systematic doping among Russian athletes.

The three-person WADA commission will be chaired by WADA’s former president Dick Pound and will also include lawyer Richard McLaren. A third member of the independent commission will be announced by the World Anti-Doping Agency at a later stage. WADA said the investigation will begin next month. The panel will seek to determine if there have been any World Anti-Doping Code violations by athletes, coaches, doctors, trainers, and WADA-accredited laboratories that may result in sanctions against individuals or organizations.

Pound, the outspoken Canadian IOC member, is entrusted with the task of investigation and comes with strong credentials. He led an internal probe of the International Olympic Committee into the Salt Lake City bid scandal that resulted in the resignation or expulsion of 10 members.

The International Association of Athletics Federations welcomed the appointment of the WADA panel. IAAF President Lamine Diack said The IAAF takes this opportunity to reiterate its full support of the WADA investigation and added our primary concern must always be to protect the integrity of competition in support of the vast majority of clean athletes, and we look forward to working with WADA to this end.

Earlier this month, a documentary broadcast by German television station ZDF/ARD disclosed Russian athletes and coaches admitting to covering up positive doping tests. The documentary claimed that 99 percent of Russian athletes are guilty of doping and it also alleged that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body for track and field, decided not to investigate 150 suspicious doping samples, including one from a British athlete.

In a statement, WADA confirmed the role of the Commission is to establish: if there have been any breaches of World Anti-Doping Code or International Standard processes or rules by signatories to the Code; if there have been any breaches of rules by WADA-accredited laboratories; if there have been any breaches of anti-doping rules by athletes and their entourage members (including coaches, trainers and doctors); and, to gather information and explore whether sufficient evidence exists that could lead to sanctions against any individual or organization under rules of the World Anti-Doping Code.

WADA president Sir Craig Reedie remarked WADA is pleased that Richard Pound and Professor Richard McLaren have agreed to look into the grave doping allegations that came to light through the recent German television broadcasts. Reedie added the Independent Commission has the vital task of reviewing the allegations aired during the documentaries, as well as all other information received separately by WADA, to determine if there have been any violations to anti-doping rules. The WADA president also remarked once the investigation is concluded, if it is found that there have been violations or breaches of the rules, WADA will ensure that any individuals or organizations concerned are dealt with in an appropriate fashion under the World Anti-Doping Code. He also said the Commission will be given the resources it needs in order for the investigation to be carried out thoroughly, and so that, in turn, clean athletes across the world are reassured that the anti-doping system is working in their best interests.

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Thursday 08, Aug 2013

  Dick Pound No Longer Has Faith In Sport At The Top

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Dick Pound No Longer Has Faith In Sport At The Top

Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, has revealed that he has lost faith in sports due to the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs.

The founding chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency says drug use in sport has forced him to question everything he sees. Pound recently co-authored an authoritative WADA report in which he laid out in detail why anti-doping programs across the world are so ineffective. Pound, in the wake of the publication of WADA’s global review of drug tests by sport, nation and laboratory, remarked that it is pretty clear just from the numbers of people being caught that drug use is rampant, and it’s rampant at the top end of sports. He added this isn’t people ranked at No 300 taking drugs to boost them up the rankings, it’s the people at the top who have used drugs to get there and he believes it’s happening across sports. Pound also added that it’s clear that cycling, athletics, swimming, tennis, and soccer have major problems and are ruled by governing bodies in denial.

One of the most influential members of the International Olympic Committee, Dick Pound was a swimming finalist at the 1960 Olympic Games. He was also the Chairman of the IOC commission that oversaw the Olympic Bribery Scandal in 1999. Dick Pound was named the first Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), a post to which he was re-elected in 2004. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992 and was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec in 1993 besides being awarded with the Gold and Silver Star of the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the government of Japan in 1998. In 2008, Pound won the Laureus Spirit of Sport Award for his work at WADA and is the Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Canadian Grenadier Guards (CGG).

For 2012, the review of global testing by WADA revealed that almost 300,000 samples from all sports were analyzed by accredited laboratories, with 1.19 per cent of them testing positive for banned substances with the rates of positive tests varying from 0.34 per cent in China to 3.34 per cent in India. Britain had 0.74 per cent positives, France 1.97 per cent, and Belgium 2.05 per cent. The anti-doping commission of Jamaica performed only 106 tests in 2012, against 4,051 by the anti-doping agency in the United States of America, 5,971 in Britain (plus almost 10,000 at the Olympics and Paralympics), 15,854 in Russia, and 10,066 in China.

The former WADA chief also said that the fact that Lance Armstrong could pass around 300 drug tests is enough proof that dopers are beating the system. He added that he will not watch the Tour de France unless administration of the sport is reformed. Pound also remarked that he got a dismissive response from commissioners of all America’s major sports when he asked how the World Anti-Doping Agency could help in the fight against drugs. Dick Pound said there is no general appetite [in sport] to undertake the effort and expense of a successful effort to deliver doping-free sport because exposing dopers is bad for business.

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Wednesday 05, Jun 2013

  Anti-Doping Programs Are Failing, Says Pound

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Anti-Doping Programs Are Failing, Says Pound

In a report for the World Anti-Doping Agency assessing the current state of drug-testing, former WADA president Dick Pound has written that anti-doping programs are failing despite increased testing and scientific advances to detect more sophisticated substances and drug cheats are getting away scot-free because of a lack of will among sports organizations, governments, and athletes.

Pound, in his report to WADA, blamed the failings on “human and political factors” and called out sports federations, the IOC, and the World Anti-Doping Agencyitself for not doing enough to catch serial dopers like Lance Armstrong. The former chief of WADA remarked that the entire system is undermined by bickering among different groups, political interference, conflicts of interest, and lack of incentives for nabbing drug offenders. In the report submitted to the WADA executive committee and foundation board in Montreal, Pound added that there are clearly many systemic, organizational and human reasons why the drug-testing programs have been generally unsuccessful in detecting dopers/cheats and there is no general appetite to undertake the effort and expense of a successful effort to deliver doping free sport.

The ex-WADA head chaired a five-person working group that produced the 26-page report entitled “Lack of Effectiveness of Testing Programs,” and said the report ought to be a wake-up call and added that we will see what kind of response we get from the stakeholders and it will be on their heads if they don’t respond properly.

The report includes many recommendations and is being sent to all the client groups and will be up for consideration at WADA’s meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in September — two months before the world doping conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Pound singled out the case of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong and said the cyclist was tested north of 300 times while taking all this stuff and never tested positive, which is not possible. It was also pointed by the report that the number of doping controls carried out around the world has increased significantly over the years and testing methods have improved but still they have not resulted in more cheats being caught. Statistics were cited in the report and it was disclosed that despite intelligence suggesting the rate of cheating is much higher, less than 1 percent produces positive findings for serious doping substances of 250,000 drug tests per year.

Pound went on to remark that athletes do not speak out against doping while national and international federations are weak on the issue and national agencies are under the influence of governments, and governments have no incentive to catch their own nationals. The report also says anti-doping organizations focus too much on the quantity of tests, rather than the quality and effectiveness and sports bodies, including the IOC, “take public, but false, comfort” from the large number of tests, which are predictable. Pound also said the international federations still think WADA is a service organization for their benefit and the international federations think it’s the responsibility of WADA to do their work, except they don’t want WADA to do the work.

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Thursday 21, Aug 2008

  Victor Conte offers some advice to WADA on steroid testing

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Victor Conte steroidsTo Victor Conte, the Caribbean is not only great for doing some R and R, but for doping as well.

In his letter to the New York Daily News, the former big boss of BALCO is giving out unsolicited advice for anti-doping organizations to step up their testing policies. And we’re sure Conte meant well and definitely knows what he’s talking about. He is a reformed man since he has spent some time in prison and then some more time on house arrest, we think any man would have the opportunity to turn over a new leaf under those circumstances. And for masterminding the biggest steroid scandal in history, we are sure he knows the ins and outs of steroid use.

Apparently, Mr. Conte is so concerned with the problem of doping in sports that he met with the former WADA boss Dick Pound in December 2007. Then, Conte has stressed the importance of implementing more out-of-competition testing to curb the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

On said meeting, Conte said he advised Pound to deploy “disguised testers” to Jamaica, providing WADA with details about a certain drug supplier there. Conte pointed out to Pound the futility of undertaking testing at competitions saying that it is during the offseason period that PEDs are widely used “when athletes use anabolic steroids in conjunction with intensive weight training and develop the explosive strength base that serves them throughout the competitive season”.

Pound, however, stepped down two weeks after the meeting, according to Conte, and the organization “failed to act upon the information.”

As for the ongoing Games in Beijing, Conte has this to say:

I have no evidence of doping by any of the winners of medals in Beijing, but when times begin falling like rain, questions arise, especially when the record-setters are from countries such as Jamaica and other Caribbean nations where there is no independent anti-doping federation. In the women’s 100 meters, for instance, four of the eight finalists in the event were from such countries. Jamaican women swept all three Olympic medals: Shelly-Ann Frasier’s winning time of 10.78 seconds is blazing fast, and reflects a drop from a best of 11.31 in 2007 to 10.78 in 2008, an improvement of more than five-tenths of a second in a single year and about five meters faster than before.

In the letter, Conte also talks about Usain Bolt, who won the men’s 100-meter gold medal and whose triumph Conte considers as “a shocking world-record time of 9.69.” Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson also merited a special mention in Conte’s letter.  Thompson won the silver in same event in a personal best time of 9.89.

Conte says that that something is going on considering that five out eight finalists in the men’s 100-m race were from an area “where there is minimal out-of-season testing and five-of-six 100-meter medals were won by athletes from Caribbean countries without independent anti-doping federations”. Conte, however, reiterates that he has no knowledge that said athletes were involved in illegal activity. He says: “All I know is that they and other athletes come from regions where minimal offseason testing is administered.”

Conte’s ends his appeal with these statements:

There is a desperate need for each of the Caribbean countries to have an independent and fully functioning anti-doping federation. Until that is the case, the sprinters from these countries are going to continue to be under a cloud of suspicion.

I believe that these athletes need to be frequently drug tested on a random basis during the offseason, so that the cloud of suspicion can begin to move on. It’s my opinion that more effective drug testing in the Caribbean will help to restore the credibility of entire sport of track and field.