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Archive for  April 2016

Sunday 10, Apr 2016

Whistleblower Accuses UK Anti-Doping Of ‘Catastrophic Failure’

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Former amateur cyclist and drugs cheat Dan Stevens, who was the whistleblower in the Dr Mark Bonar doping case, has finally came out and accused the UK Anti-Doping of a “catastrophic failure”.

Stevens said UKAD had absolutely no reason to not investigate Dr Bonar and also added they had every reason to investigate the doctor, they were given prescriptions that the doctor had produced – those prescriptions included the doctor’s GMC registration number. The former amateur cyclist also remarked they were prescribed via British chemists and UK Anti-Doping have got absolutely no excuse for not investigating this, and that is a massive concern. Stevens also said it is horrendous and diabolical and he does not think it is by accident either.

A few days back, a report in The Sunday Times alleged that Dr Bonar prescribed 150 athletes – including Premier League footballers, British Tour de France cyclists, tennis players, and a British boxer – with performance enhancing drugs. It was claimed by the British newspaper that UK’s anti-doping agency was provided with information about alleged doping activities of the doctor two years ago but failed to take action. It has now been revealed that it was Dan Stevens who was the whistleblower.

The 47-year-old Stevens was banned for a period of two years after he refused to give an out-of-competition sample. His suspension was later reduced by three months. In an interview with BBC Sport, the former amateur cyclist said he found Dr Bonar online after he was diagnosed with low testosterone levels and initially found Bonar to be a “sensible, good doctor”. However, he soon learned that Bonar would later talk to him about other drugs like the blood-boosting drug Erythropoietin and human growth hormone.

Stevens said he thinks it was quite revolutionary to meet with a British doctor in a private clinic who was telling me that a number of high-profile British athletes, cyclists, runners, boxers, cricketers, and footballers were using these substances to improve their performance. The ex-cyclist added his words were that this is what is needed to be done to move up a level.

In response to Stevens, Bonar told the BBC that Dan Stevens presented with some personal medical issues and he treated symptoms appropriately and did not prescribe for the purposes of performance enhancement.

In a statement to BBC Sport, UK Anti-Doping said it is important to highlight that UKAD is investigating the claims made by the Sunday Times. The statement further reads that UKAD must also clarify that UKAD does not have the names of any sportspeople who may have been treated by Dr Bonar other than the sportsperson concerned. UK’s anti-doping agency also said the UKAD Board has appointed Andy Ward to lead an independent review into UKAD’s handling of intelligence in 2014 in relation to Dr Bonar and the wider investigation which took place following the sportspersons interviews. It also remarked we will fully cooperate with the independent review and we will not comment further on this particular case until that review has been concluded.

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Friday 08, Apr 2016

Russia Dumps U-18 Hockey Team Over Doping Reports

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Russia has almost changed all of its under-18 ice hockey team a day before the team was to depart for the World Championships in North Dakota to prompt questions and confusion over alleged doping.

On Thursday, the coach and all Russia-based players were removed and replaced with a hastily assembled group of under-17s. Profiles of previous players were deleted from the team website. The replaced team of Russia is all likely to struggle to compete with the best under-18 programs in the world. The country now has a roster filled with 16-year-olds, several of whom are under 160 pounds and would find it hard to have a chance against stacked U.S. and Canadian teams.

The under-18 world hockey championship is generally the most important tournament of the year for NHL scouting staffs. The under-18 championship is the best opportunity to see the top of the present year’s draft-eligible players compete against one another, and it is played only two months before the draft. The omission of the under-18 Russian team means some GMs would not have a chance to watch rising Russian stars such as projected top-20 pick German Rubtsov, Artur Kayumov, Dmitri Alexeyev, and Mikhail Maltsev at all this season.

St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong said they are a hard group to see. Armstrong added it definitely hurts their draft ranking from his standpoint and added he has only seen Rubstov once and others zero times. The St. Louis Blues GM said his scouts have seen them, but a late, positive viewing goes a long way and it is human nature.

Bill Armstrong, the Blues director of amateur scouting, said the Russians were tired of getting their ass kicked after they gained only one bronze in the past six tournaments. Bill added that is why they built this team to go and be more competitive at the U-18, giving reference to the Russians trying to emulate the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) by having them play together as a single, centralized elite club all season.

   The Blues director of amateur scouting added they really accomplished two goals, first was that they kept some players in Russia, and they were a more competitive team with their U-18 program. However, this could be the reason behind the entire team getting wiped out. This was primarily because the team members used to train together the entire season and were all on the same diet and supplement regimen that could be the possible cause of how many believed they received the Meldonium.

Local media suggested a link to doping but it was remarked by Russian Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak that this was a tactical decision by the coaching staff and he did not provided further details. Tretiak added the federation had not conducted any informal doping tests of its players that would be a breach of anti-doping rules. It was reported by media that the controversial blood-flow-boosting drug Meldonium was the cause.

The recently-banned substance has already resulted in hundreds of positive tests among high-profile Russian athletes – including tennis star Maria Sharapova – in recent months. Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list in January.

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Wednesday 06, Apr 2016

UK Anti-Doping To Face A Government-Mandated Investigation

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Britain’s anti-doping agency will face a government-mandated investigation into why it dismissed allegations that a “tainted” doctor prescribed performance enhancing drugs to a sportsman. Andy Ward, who stood down as Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside Police in January, has been appointed by the UKAD board with the agreement of Culture Secretary John Whittingdale to review UK Anti-Doping’s handling of the Dr Mark Bonar saga.

Recently, the Sunday Times newspaper revealed that documents implicating Dr. Mark Bonar were handed to UK Anti-Doping in 2014 by an unnamed sportsman who had been suspended for breaching doping rules. It was confirmed on Sunday by UK Anti-Doping that an investigation had been opened into the doctor after interviewing a sportsperson in April and May 2014.

The Sunday Times also managed to secretly record Bonar making allegations to an unnamed “aspiring Olympic runner” who was sent by the newspaper house to him about how banned performance enhancing drugs had been prescribed for sportspeople. Bonar was recorded as saying some of these treatments he uses are banned on a professional circuit and therefore the “athlete” should be mindful of that but he has worked with lots of professional athletes who do use these treatments.

Britain’s anti-doping agency further revealed it let off the doctor as he fell outside its jurisdiction because he was not governed by a sport. In a statement, UKAD said it had no other intelligence to corroborate the sportsman’s allegations. UK Anti-Doping further added it as a result recommended to the sportsperson that more information was needed and that information could be passed, if appropriate, to the General Medical Council, which does have the powers to investigate possible medical malpractice and pursue if necessary.

Britain’s culture, media, and sport department wants UK Anti-Doping about its handling of the case. In a statement, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said he had asked for there to be an urgent independent investigation into what action was taken when these allegations were first received and what more needs to be done to ensure that British sport remains clean. Whittingdale added there is no room for complacency in the fight against doping and the government is already looking at whether existing legislation in this area goes far enough and added if it becomes clear that stronger criminal sanctions are needed then we will not hesitate to act.

Reacting to the case, the General Medical Council, the regulatory body for doctors, said Bonar does not presently hold a license so cannot practice medicine in Britain. GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said these are serious allegations and we will follow them up as a matter of urgency.

The Sunday Times reported that Bonar later denied doping sportspeople. The newspaper quoted Bonar as saying the fact that some of my patients happen to be professional athletes is irrelevant. Bonar also said if they have proven deficiencies on blood work and are symptomatic, he will treat them and also added that they are well fully aware of the risks of using these medicines in professional sport and it is their responsibility to comply with anti-doping regulations.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: UK Anti-Doping To Face A Government-Mandated Investigation

Monday 04, Apr 2016

British Tour De France Riders Were Treated With Banned Substances, Claims Doctor

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According to an article that appeared in the Sunday Times, a British doctor has claimed he provide performance-enhancing drugs to many clients, including unnamed British Tour de France riders plus other sporting clients.

The doctor in question, Mark Bonar, was quoted by the story as saying that he assisted the athletes obtain the substances that are forbidden under anti-doping rules. Undercover reporters were told by the 38-year-old doctor that banned performance enhancing drugs were prescribed by him to 150 elite sportsmen, including British Tour de France cyclists, an England cricketer, Premier League footballers, a British boxing champion, tennis players, and martial arts competitors. The reporters were told by the doctor that he had treated sportsmen from the United Kingdom and abroad over the past six years banned substances such as Erythropoietin (EPO), anabolic steroids, and human growth hormone. Bonar described the performance improvements were “phenomenal”.

Bonar was secretly filmed by an undercover reporter at a private London clinic. The reporter pretended to be an athlete who was experiencing difficulties in recovering from training. In a video recording, Dr Bonar tells the ‘reporter athlete” that growth hormone and testosterone are very important for recovery and also in building strength. Bonar said obviously some of these treatments he use are banned on the professional circuit and added so you have to be mindful of that. Bonar added he had worked with lots of professional athletes who do use these treatments, but it is how you do it. The initial cost of the consultation between the “reporter athlete” and Dr Bonar was £780.

The athlete returned to the doctor after a period of two weeks and was told his blood tests were normal but Dr Bonar still suggested continuing taking banned substances. The doctor mentioned the levels of hematocrit in blood and talked about how they could be improved. Dr Bonar said the way that you would boost that potentially is to use Erythropoietin. Bonar also suggested that the “reporter” used DHEA and Injected growth hormone that are also banned in sport. The doctor also offered the reporter an injection of a slow-release testosterone at that point in time.

During the third meeting, another undercover reporter accompanied the first posing as his uncle and made it clear that the athlete was aiming to make it to the British Olympic squad. It was conceded by Dr Bonar that though the patient had no medical problems, the levels were ‘suboptimal’ and justified the prescribing of banned substances to him. Dr Bonar said the truth of the matter is that drugs are in sport and what he does is that he prescribes responsibly and he tries to keep his patients the optimum level of normal.

Responding to the Sunday Times, an inquiry into the taxpayer-funded UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) watchdog was ordered by the British culture secretary John Whittingdale. The allegations were described by Whittingdale as “shocked and deeply concerned” and he suggested that UKAD’s chief executive Nicole Sapstead should resign.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: British Tour De France Riders Were Treated With Banned Substances, Claims Doctor

Saturday 02, Apr 2016

Allegations Of Systemic Doping In Russian Swimming To Be Investigated By WADA

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will be investigating allegations of systematic doping in Russian swimming. The agency will soon examine the report that was commissioned by it and revealed systematic use of performance enhancing drugs in Russian athletics before it decides to widen the inquiry.

WADA is expected to look for corroborating evidence and find out whether there is new material involving Russian swimming before it determines the level of investigation. Craig Reedie, the WADA President, remarked there is no doubt that the disturbing assertions of orchestrated doping in Russian swimming should be scrutinized.

Reedie added WADA and its partners are under no illusions about the challenges facing sport’s integrity today and also remarked that clean athletes are justifiably concerned that their rights are being eroded through the minority that choose to dope in sport. The chief of WADA also remarked WADA, as a result of information and evidence collected, will make an informed decision as to what form of inquiry is needed and who will conduct it. The World Anti-Doping Agency expressed concerns following the allegations that arrive at a time when trust in clean sport is already in a perilous state.

A recent report in The Times alleged systemic doping was taking place in Russian swimming. Russian athletes were recently suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Track and field athletes of the country could miss Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

In another development, WADA has written to the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to express specific concerns about the alleged role of Sergei Portugalov, chief of the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) medical commission, who is facing sanctions after the independent report into athletics. In a statement, WADA said we are concerned by the allegations that Sergei Portugalov – who is currently facing a lifetime ban from working in athletics due to the commission’s findings – may be working in swimming. The statement further reads that it should be noted that, under the World Anti-Doping Code, such a lifetime sanction should also be recognized by all other international sport federations.

Meanwhile, FINA has called on The Times to share its evidence and insisted that the world governing body of athletics had taken steps for protecting its anti-doping procedures following the report into athletics. In a statement, FINA said it is not aware of any concrete evidence of systemic doping in Russian swimming and added that we have taken a particularly robust approach to our anti-doping procedures in relation to Russia and Russian competitions, in light of WADA’s recent investigation.

The FINA statement further reads that it issued a directive to ensure the continued integrity of the testing program. It was further added that the entirety of FINA’s unannounced out-of-competition doping control program in Russia is now conducted by a third-party, independent of FINA and the Russian anti-doping agency, the Swedish company IDTM. The governing body of swimming further said that all samples in 2016 will be analyzed overseas and noted that it is currently conducting target-testing for the 10 best-performing athletes in each event, with at least five tests before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Allegations Of Systemic Doping In Russian Swimming To Be Investigated By WADA

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