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Monday 25, Jul 2016

  Russia Greets IOC Decision On Doping Allegations

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The decision of International Olympic Committee’s decision not to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics was greeted with relief and jubilation from Russian sport administrators and athletes.

The IOC remarked the 28 federations that govern summer Olympic sports would review the records of Russian athletes and decide who can compete in Rio next month.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko remarked we are grateful to the IOC for allowing Russian athletes into the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Mutko however complained about decision of the committee to ban those Russian athletes who have tested positive for performance-enhancing substances even though we know dozens of athletes from well-known countries who will compete at Rio with just such a history. This would mean swimmer Yuliya Yefimova, who won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and tested positive for Meldonium this year, and the doping whistleblower, Yuliya Stepanova would now be ruled out and only the US-based long jumper Darya Klishina will likely be the only Russian track and field athlete in Rio.

Alexander Zhukov, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, termed the IOC decision as a “compromise decision” made under “colossal pressure”. Zhukov added Russian athletes will now have to prove they are clean rather than enjoying the presumption of innocence.

Svetlana Khorkina, the Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, cautioned athletes of Russia that more “traps will probably be laid” for them in Rio. Legendary Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin remarked the International Olympic Committee had made the most elegant decision amid the clamor, tendentiousness, unprecedented pressure, desire of some national Olympic committees to remove an obvious contender for Olympic medals from the race by any means.

Britain’s world and Olympic long jump champion, Greg Rutherford, joined the list of those who condemned the IOC decision. Rutherford remarked the decision was a spineless attempt to appear as the nice guy to both sides and warned the International Olympic Committee had thrown away the opportunity to make a clear statement of intent against those who cheat. The Olympic long jump champion remarked we  know the pros and the cons of a blanket ban, we know the risks of ‘collective justice’, but we also know the risk of not punishing a culture of doping that comes from the very top and added he would say that the latter is a much greater threat to sport.

Rutherford said he believes the IOC has created an unseemly mess and commented we have certainly not been given a clear message of transparency and progress. Rutherford also said he would have almost been happier if the decision had been a bullish refusal to act in any way and remarked this is a spineless attempt to appear as the nice guy to both sides. The British athlete also said it is a decision without the strength of conviction to sever friendships and take action, or indeed the confidence to recommend against any ban at all.

The ruling by IOC means Russian athletes can compete in Rio Olympics if they can prove to the full satisfaction of their international federation and the IOC and Court of Arbitration for Sport, that they are demonstrably clean.

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Monday 30, May 2016

  IOC Confirms 23 From London 2012 Fail Doping Retests

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The International Olympic Committee has confirmed 23 competitors from the 2012 London Olympics have failed doping retests.

In a statement, the IOC said 265 London samples had been retested with improved techniques and the 23 failed positive tests come from competitors from six countries, competing across five sports. The 23 athletes are in addition to the 31 caught in retests of samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a confirmation from the Russian Olympic Committee disclosed that 14 of those athletes were Russians. The Russian Olympic Committee said eight Russian athletes who took part in the London Olympics tested positive for doping during the 2012 games. The second admission in a month that illegal substances were used by Russian athletes could now add more uncertainty about Russia’s participation in the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

It was recently reported by the Russian state television that 10 medalists from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including 2012 high jump champion Anna Chicherova, were among 14 Russians that tested positive in the reanalysis of their doping samples. Chicherova, the gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2011 World Championships in Athletics who won a bronze medal in the event at the 2008 Summer Olympics, continue to compete. Chicherova’s coach Vladimir Plekhanov said they have not received correspondence from the IAAF, the world governing body of athletics. For several years, Chicherova was among the world leading high jumpers until she missed the 2010 season because of pregnancy and reestablished herself as the world leading female high jumper displacing Blanka Vlašić after returning in 2011.

IOC president Thomas Bach said these reanalysis show, once again, our determination in the fight against doping. Bach added we want to keep the dopers away from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and this is why we are acting swiftly now. The IOC said in a statement the samples were re-examined after intelligence-gathering that began last August.

The reanalysis of samples from both the Beijing and London Olympics was welcomed by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD). UKAD’s director of operations Pat Myhill remarked the ability to retest samples, as a result of new intelligence or the development of new testing techniques, is a vital tool in the fight against doping in sport. Myhill added retrospective analysis allows us to pursue those who cheat clean athletes, long after the competition has ended. The UKAD’s director of operations added it sends a clear message to those who dope – if you chose to make that choice, and think that you’ve got away with it, think again and we can and will catch you.

Russia has been involved with several doping accusations and evidence in the recent past. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian lab now living in Los Angeles, revealed in an interview published in the New York Times that he switched tainted urine samples for clean ones at the doping lab used for the Sochi Games with assistance from people he believed to be officers of the Russian security services.

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Wednesday 18, May 2016

  Doping Sample Retesting Could Bar Dozens From Rio Olympics

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In a major doping crackdown, the International Olympic Committee has opened disciplinary proceedings against 31 unidentified athletes from 12 countries who competed in the 2008 Beijing Games and were about to take part in the Rio de Janeiro Games in August.

The IOC made the announcement after retesting of drug samples from the 2008 Beijing Games. The IOC remarked the positive cases from the Beijing Games emerged from the recent retesting of 454 doping samples with the very latest scientific analysis methods. In a statement, the IOC said it would not immediately identify the athletes caught for legal reasons but would inform the relevant national Olympic committees in the coming days.

The International Olympic Committee added all those athletes infringing anti-doping rules will be banned from competing at the Olympic Games in Rio. It also commented that retesting results of 250 samples from the London Olympics will be announced shortly and commented samples of athletes who would be promoted to medals following disqualification of drug cheats will also be retested.

The IOC urged the World Anti-Doping Agency to initiate a “fully-fledged investigation” into recent allegations that the Sochi drug-testing system was subverted by Russian officials.

IOC President Thomas Bach said this is a powerful strike against athletes who dope and added this shows once again that dopers have no place to hide. The International Olympic Committee is also planning to reanalyze drug tests from the 2014 Sochi Winter Games after allegations were made by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory, that samples were tampered with as part of a state-sponsored Russian doping program.

Rodchenkov admitted he worked for many years at the direction of the government of Russia to assist top athletes of the country to use banned, performance-enhancing substances and go undetected. Rodchenkov said athletes of Russia had doped before the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games and throughout the course of the 2014 Sochi Games. Rodchenkov described an overnight operation in which he along with a small team had substituted tainted urine of Russian athletes for clear urine. The urine samples were stockpiled in the months leading to competition and later were passed on surreptitiously through a hole in the wall of the lab building. Rodchenkov later wrote a letter to WADA and the IOC and offer to guide investigators in their scrutiny of samples of Russian athletes from the Sochi Games to verify his account. Rodchenkov added the samples would show no traces of banned drugs but the table salt he added to the urine samples in question, to mask certain inconsistencies would be good to confirm his story.

The International Olympic Committee stores samples for a period of ten years to allow for retesting with improved techniques and athletes who are found guilty of doping face retroactive disqualification and loss of any medals. It remarked the Lausanne anti-doping lab and World Anti-Doping Agency would be asked to proceed with analyzing Sochi samples in the most sophisticated and efficient way possible. However, it is still not clear how many samples are still intact for reliable retesting.

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Wednesday 20, Apr 2016

  Doping Law Passed By Kenya Parliament

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Kenya, the powerhouse of athletics, is all set to avoid sanctions by the World Anti-Doping Agency after its parliament finally passed a law that criminalized doping.

The anti-doping law protects the health of athletes and puts coordinated and effective mechanisms for detecting, deterring, and preventing the use of prohibited substances or prohibited material in competitive or recreational sport.

Kenyan sports minister Hassan Wario said President Kenyatta was expected to sign off on the doping legislation by the end of this week. It was announced by Kenyan sports minister that the anti-doping bill had been approved by lawmakers and now only needs to be signed by the president to be adopted as law. Previously, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has said he will sign the anti-doping legislation and he would personally drive the bull through parliament with the sports reputation of the country on the line.

It was confirmed on Tuesday by Presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu that the president would approve the law. Once the assent has been provided for the bill by the President, the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya would be created as a corporate body for promoting sports that are free from prohibited substances or methods and intended for artificially improving performance and developing a national strategy to address doping in sport. The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya will then work independently to ensure implementation of various guidelines and international standards in matters related to anti-doping.

Parliamentarians of Kenya previously failed to comply with the April 5 deadline to pass the Anti-doping bill. Kenya thereafter applied for an extension that was granted until May 2. Passing the anti-doping law is one of the things Kenya requires to have in place by a final deadline of May 2. Failure to done it would have cost the African country being declared as non-compliant with WADA’s global code. The new law calls for prison sentences in some cases where athlete or others are found guilty of providing or using performance enhancing drugs.

Kenya was also asked by the World Anti-Doping Agency to strengthen its overall anti-doping program after a surge in positive tests was noticed. The country was also asked to establish and properly fund a national anti-doping agency. In the past, the East African country that is home to the top distance runners of the world found troubles in getting the anti-doping bill passed.

Kenyan athletics has been the victim of many doping cases, allegations of cover-ups and extortion by top track federation officials. Since London Olympics, forty Kenyans have been banned for doping.

Few days back, the compliance committee of WADA said it would recommend to the agency’s board to declare Kenya non-compliant if the improvements were not made by May 2.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe recently remarked the world governing body of athletics would be ready to ban Kenyan athletes from international competitions if the East African country consistently failed to comply with WADA regulations. A ban could have likely put athletes of Kenya, including prominent stars like 800-meter Olympic champion David Rudisha, out of the Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

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Tuesday 01, Mar 2016

  Former World Champion Fails Doping Test

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Swedish Athletics Association (SFIF) has announced Sweden’s Ethiopian-born 1,500 meters former world champion Abeba Aregawi has tested positive for doping.

SFIF general secretary Stefan Olsson remarked it is with dismay and with extreme disappointment that we report this issue. Olsson also said we totally reject all forms of cheating, doping and added that we have a zero tolerance, and this is totally unacceptable.

Aregawi tested positive for a banned substance following an out-of-competition urine test conducted by the International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body of athletics. According to the IAAF, the 2013 world champion voluntarily withdrew from competition and asked for her backup “B” sample to be tested. An IAAF spokesman added the athlete, following notification of the laboratory finding, has voluntarily withdrawn from competition until the investigations into the laboratory finding are completed. The spokesman added the athlete in the meantime has requested the analysis of the B sample which will be conducted shortly. The spokesman also said the IAAF and the Swedish Athletic Federation will not make any further comment until completion of the result management procedure.

The Swedish Athletics Association announced a full investigation will now be concluded. Fredrik Trahn, a spokesman for the association, said we cannot disclose the actual substance that she tested positive for because this is an ongoing investigation. Trahn also added Abeba Aregawi is provisionally suspended effective immediately.

It was reported by Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet that Åke Andrén-Sandberg, a medical expert of SFIF, confirmed the Aregawi had tested positive for Meldonium, which is a substance that was banned in sports at the start of 2016 just before her doping test. The suspension means place of the Ethiopian-born runner in the Swedish team for the Rio Olympics in August is now in doubt.

Aregawi won the European championships and World Indoors gold over her specialist distance. The 25-year-old athlete finished fifth at the London Games, again in a slow tactical race behind Turkey’s Asli Cakir Alptekin, who was later stripped of her Olympic title for a second doping offence. Aregawi, who competed for Ethiopia at the London Olympics, was world champion in 2013 in Moscow and finished only sixth in a slow tactical race in Beijing last year. The athlete switched allegiances to Sweden soon after the Olympics to gain citizenship through her marriage to a naturalized Swede of Ethiopian origin.

The Swedish Olympic Committee (SOC) decided to withdraw their financial support for Aregawi. It is highly unlikely that she would now be a part of the Rio Games team. The Ethiopian-born middle-distance runner, currently representing Sweden internationally, is the current world champion over 1500 meters.

It is rumored that Aregawi is one of a number of Ethiopian-born athletes who will be announced to have failed drugs tests in the coming weeks. The news of Aregawi’s positive test came a few days after she was caught in a storm over unpaid taxes after she told Swedish authorities she had never lived in the country and was therefore not liable for tax.

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Tuesday 02, Feb 2016

  Athletics Officials Appeal Lifetime Bans

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In a statement, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has announced that three athletics officials barred for life by the International Association of Athletics Associations have made an appeal to it to have their life bans from involvement in the sport of track and field annulled.

Papa Massata Diack of Senegal, and Russian officials Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov made the appeals after they were handed lifetime bans for bribery and extortion for covering up a Russian doping case. Diack, a former marketing consultant for the governing body, is the son of ex-IAAF President Lamine Diack and is the subject of an Interpol notice seeking his arrest for questioning by investigative agencies in France. Melnikov was head coach of Russian distance runners and race walkers and Balakhnichev was the long-time president of the Russian athletics federation and a former IAAF treasurer.

The three were found guilty of conspiring to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from Liliya Shobukhova, the Russian marathoner, so she can avoid a doping ban before the 2012 London Olympics. The ban of 38 months imposed on Liliya ban from track and field was reduced by seven months after the Russian athlete turned whistleblower for the World Anti-Doping Agency. The Russian long-distance runner, who held a former world indoor record in the 3000 m is the current European record holder in the 3000 m and 5000 m, competed in marathon races and served a doping ban until 23 August 2015.

On January 7, the ethics panel of IAAF published its findings and Diack, Balakhnichev, and Melnikov all deny wrongdoing. The IAAF panel had remarked all three compounded the vice of what they did by conspiring to extort what were in substance bribes from Shobukhova by acts of blackmail and added that they acted dishonestly and corruptly and did unprecedented damage to the sport of track and field which, by their actions, they have brought into serious disrepute.

In another development, Senegal PM Mohammed Dionne has remarked it would not extradite Papa Massata Diack, who is accused of blackmailing athletes who failed drug tests, to France. Dionne remarked he would respect agreements with France but would not extradite its citizens. A “Red Notice” has been issued by Interpol for the arrest of Papa Massata Diack who is accused by prosecutors from France of being part of an alleged “system of corruption”. According to the Red Notice, Massata is required in France on charges of complicity in receiving bribes, aggravated money-laundering, and conspiracy in an organized group to invest, conceal or convert the proceeds of active corruption.

Many believe that Papa Massata is in Senegal where he recently gave an interview. In the interview, he remarked he would answer questions from the French investigators if they travelled to Dakar.

Lamine Diack is in France and is not allowed the leave the country. Lamine is presently being investigated over allegations that the former IAAF chief took payments over deferring sanctions against drug cheats from Russia while he was President of the world governing body of athletics.

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Thursday 05, Feb 2015

  Russian Steeplechaser And Heptathlete Banned, Bans For Skiing Champions

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The Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA has announced that steeplechaser Yulia Zaripova has been banned for two and a half years for doping offences.

The 28-year-old was suspended after her biological passport showed abnormalities and her results from June 20 to August 20 2011 and July 3-September 3 2012 have been annulled. Zaripova set a new personal best by winning the gold in the women’s 3,000 meters steeplechase at the London Olympics in 2012.

Zaripova also won gold in the world championships in South Korea in 2011. Her Olympics result has been annulled and she could lose the gold medal though she is allowed to keep her gold of world championships. The suspension imposed on Zaripova was backdated from July 2013 that leaves her eligible to compete in next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. If she is stripped of the gold medal, it could go to second-placed Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia.

RUSADA also announced that heptathlete Tatyana Chernova has also been banned for taking illegal substances. Tatyana, the double Olympic bronze medalist, had a sample from the 2009 world championships in Berlin retested in 2013 following a request by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). She tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid Oral Turinabol and has been suspended for two years, starting from July 22 2013. Tatyana’s results from August 2009 to August 2011 have been annulled but she is allowed to keep her gold medal at the 2011 world championships.

The Russian anti-doping agency also announced that a ban of three months has been imposed on Yuri Gavrilov, the cross-country skier, after he tested positive for a banned substance.

Gavrilov received the three-month ban backdated to September 23, 2014, by the Russian cross-country skiing federation. The ban imposed on Gavrilov is the third to emerge in the last few days after reigning national junior champion Nikita Mashkin and another skier, Arina Kalinina, received doping bans of two years each for unspecified breaches of anti-doping rules. Nikita, the 20-year-old reigning national junior cross-country skiing champion over 50 kilometers from Russia, and female youth skier Arina Kalinina, were banned for anti-doping violations.

Recently, three Olympic walking champions, Olga Kaniskina, Valery Borchin and Sergei Kirdyapkin, as well as 2011 world champion Sergei Bakulin and silver medalist Vladimir Kanaykin were suspended for doping offences.

Russia has been under clouds of doping suspicion after a German TV documentary revealed recorded statements of athletes including 800-meter gold medal winner Maria Savinova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova who admitted to taking banned substances. Investigations have been opened by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the IAAF into the accusations made by the German broadcaster ARD program that alleged Russian athletics bosses oversaw systematic doping and RUSADA officials covered up positive tests.

In a statement, Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the doping bans imposed on Chernova and Zaripova proved that the existing system of doping controls was working despite a series of scandals. Mutko said we are of course very upset with our top athletes’ doping violations but added on the other hand it shows that the system of doping control in our country works well. The Sports Minister also remarked we work hard to protect the young generation of honest athletes, to show them that every doping offence will be sooner or later penalized.

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Friday 06, Jun 2014

  WADA Will Not Appeal Against Tyson Gay’s Lenient Doping Ban

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WADA Will Not Appeal Against Tyson Gay’s Lenient Doping Ban

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has remarked that it will not appeal against the “too lenient” doping ban imposed on American sprinter Tyson Gay by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

The 31-year-old Gay tested positive for the presence of an exogenous androgenic anabolic steroid and/or its metabolites which was confirmed by CIR (GC/C/IRMS) analysis, as the result of two out-of-competition and one in-competition urine samples collected by both USADA and the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF).

In a statement, WADA said Gay’s ban that had been widely criticized in Europe as extremely lenient was ‘compatible with the World Anti-Doping Code.’ The world’s second fastest man, Tyson Gay, accepted a suspension of one year last month by USADA after a 2013 positive test for an anabolic steroid. USADA backdated the ban to June 23, 2013 to make Gay eligible to make a return to running later this month and Gay’s first race after the ban will be a 100 meters at Lausanne’s Diamond League meeting on July 3.

Gay accepted the doping ban and returned the silver medal he won as a member of the U.S. 4×100 meters relay team at the 2012 London Olympics. The athlete has also been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to July 15, 2012, the date he first made use of a product that contained a prohibited substance, including the forfeiture of all medals, points, and prizes.

USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart had remarked we appreciate Tyson doing the right thing by immediately withdrawing from competition once he was notified, accepting responsibility for his decisions, and fully and truthfully cooperating with us in our ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding his case.

Under rules, an athlete receives a suspension of two years for their first major doping offense but this ban may get reduced for ‘substantial cooperation’ under anti-doping rules. USADA remarked that Tyson Gay was eligible for a doping ban reduction as he offered what it termed substantial assistance in his case and WADA said it was satisfied with the USADA decision. In a statement, WADA remarked it is satisfied that Tyson Gay provided substantial assistance to USADA in an appropriate fashion after careful review and scrutiny of the full case file.

It added WADA will therefore not appeal USADA’s decision that is compatible with the World Anti-Doping Code. Officials of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that also has the right to appeal against the decision declined to make a comment and remarked that the matter remains in the hands of its doping review board to assess. Last month, IAAF president Lamine Diack said he supported the WADA Code rule that permits athletes to receive reduced sentences if they provide substantial assistance to anti-doping agencies.

In an interview at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas, Diack said we have to use this in the fight against doping. He added if someone gave really very good cooperation and gives us the possibility to do more to fight doping, we have to do something.

Gay is keen to make a return and remarked Lausanne has always been one of his favorite meets, and added he is thrilled to have it be his opening meet.

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Tuesday 25, Jun 2013

  ‘Insane’ Tests At London Olympics Queried By Doping Chief

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‘Insane’ Tests At London Olympics Queried By Doping Chief

Andy Parkinson, chief executive of UK anti-doping, has labeled the amount of tests carried out at the London Olympics as “insane” after 5,000 tests in three weeks led to just nine positive findings during the London Games of which only three were from athletes tested during their competitions – the other six were out-of-competition tests.

Parkinson is the first Chief Executive of UK Anti-Doping and was appointed to the position in August 2009 and headed up the anti-doping operation at UK Sport as Director of Drug-Free Sport and prior to this held the position of Head of Operations. Andy, before joining UK Sport in 2006, was Medical and Scientific Director at the International Paralympic Committee and was elected as Chair of the Ad hoc European Committee in May 2012 for the World Anti-Doping Agency (CAHAMA), effective from November 2012.

Britain’s anti-doping chief called for Olympic organizers to be allowed to test competing athletes in the months leading up to Games rather than in the three-week period of the event. He added the resources can be better deployed and five thousand is an insane amount of samples in just three weeks of the Games, and six out of the nine positive tests were before the athlete took to the field of play and remarked if you said the London Olympic Games has 5,000 samples but spread over three months that has to be a much better use of resource and a better use of money and most of us would accept if there is doping occurring then it is before the event itself.

The anti-doping chief also remarked that the ongoing review of World Anti-Doping Code could allow major event organizers to extend their jurisdiction for the months in advance of the Games and the challenge you have got is organizing committees who want their programs to be judged as of high quality and the way they do that is numerically and pointed out that Sochi’s anti-doping director announced last week that 2,500 drug tests will be conducted at next year’s Winter Olympics, about 350 more than at the 2010 Games.

Parkinson added that the Lance Armstrong doping scandal was an eye opener and wake-up call for those who relied solely on traditional tests at events and remarked Lance never returned a positive test and we need to be thinking very differently if we are going to catch serial cheats. He went on to add that he was encouraged the IOC president Jacques Rogge has backed quality over quantity in terms of tests, but that organizing committees would have to be carefully watched to ensure they did not use this simply as an excuse to save money. The Britain’s anti-doping chief also described as “astonishing” that a Spanish judge had ordered blood bags seized during the Operation Puerto doping investigation to be destroyed and said rather astonishingly the judge said all the blood bags are to be destroyed – that’s to put it mildly a shame and not the best example of how law enforcement can work with anti-doping authorities. The judge’s decision is still the subject of ongoing legal action by Spanish anti-doping authorities who want the blood analyzed.

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Friday 21, Jun 2013

  Doping Cover-Up Denied By IAAF

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Doping Cover-Up Denied By IAAF

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the international governing body for the sport of athletics, such as running, jumping, and throwing, has vehemently denied any cover-up of the use of performance enhancing drugs by Italian 50km race walker Alex Schwazer.

The New York Times recently alleged that officials of the IAAF “had evidence” against Schwazer but made no effort to prevent him from competing in last summer’s Olympic Games in London. The leading newspaper added the revelation had stemmed from an investigation being conducted by prosecutors in Bolzano, Italy, into Dr Giuseppe Fischetto, the medical director for the Italian track and field federation and a member of the international track organization’s Anti-Doping Commission.

The report claimed that IAAF authorities had obtained e-mail messages indicating that as early as April 2012, officials for track and field’s world governing body, known as the IAAF, were aware of abnormal doping test results for the racewalker Alex Schwazer, who won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. It was further revealed that Thomas Capdevielle, the medical and anti-doping manager of the I.A.A.F., sent Fischetto the results of an out-of-competition blood test conducted on Schwazer and emphasized that the values recorded in Schwazer’s blood were high and the email conversations disclosed that Fischetto restated his belief that Schwazer was using illegal performance enhancing drugs.

It was further disclosed in the newspaper that Italy’s paramilitary police force, the Carabinieri, recently searched the home and office of Fischetto, as well as those of two other officials of the Italian track and field federation in Rome and they are accused of covering up the doping practices of Schwazer. The prosecutors, in their search warrant, accused Fischetto of complicit behavior that consisted in not activating any anti-doping control against the athlete, in fact allowing him to take illegal performance enhancing substances. The office of the Bolzano chief prosecutor, Guido Rispoli, said in a search warrant request this circumstance can only be explained by the desire to ‘preserve’ a national track and field star for the 2012 London Olympic Games, in the expectation that he would perform well for Italy both in the 20 and the 50 km walk race.

In response to the allegations, the IAAF said in a statement that it is aware of and shocked by the accusations made against it in the New York Times concerning the ongoing investigation in Italy regarding the case of the sanctioned Italian race walker Alex Schwazer and the world athletics’ governing body categorically refutes these claims in the strongest possible terms. The statement added that the case outlined involved abnormal blood results with respect to an Athletes Biological Passport and was handled in strict accordance with IAAF rules and those of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).

While training for the London Olympics, Schwazer eventually failed a doping test conducted by WADA and the Italian anti-doping court banned him for three and a half years for testing positive for the blood booster EPO (erythropoietin). Schwazer was removed from the Italian team before he had the chance to defend his Olympic 50km title. The racewalker later admitted to using the blood-boosting hormone EPO during a televised news conference.

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