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Saturday 13, May 2017

  Nicola Ruffoni Blames Positive Test On Prostate Infection

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Bardiani-CSF rider Nicola Ruffoni, who was prevented from starting on eve of the 100th Giro d’Italia after testing positive for human growth hormone, has blamed the positive test on prostate infection.

Ruffoni and his teammate Stefano Pirazzi tested positive for growth hormones GH-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) on April 25 and 26, respectively. The results went public 12 hours before the Giro set off from Alghero.

Ruffoni wrote on his Facebook page that he is trying to give a logical explanation of what happened to him by reliving what he did in the last month before the test. The provisionally-suspended rider also commented that the thing that might have been associated with the presence of growth hormone in his urine could be a strong prostate infection he suffered in the period from March 20 to April 20, and that forced him to stop riding and to take antibiotics. Ruffoni added he will therefore turn to an expert endocrinologist for information on this.

The cyclist also said that he is very much aware that his cycling career is at risk but he is equally aware that he had not tried to cheat. Ruffoni added he will therefore calmly wait the counter-analysis and try to defend his credibility to the fullest.

Race’s director, Mauro Vegni, said the damage is done already after hearing about news of the positive tests. Vegni added he is sorry for the Giro, for Italian cycling, and that team represented Italian cycling and added it shows that you have to keep your attention high for doping, because unfortunately, there is always an idiot. Vegni added it happened, it is sad, but the Giro has so much more to it.

The B samples of Ruffoni and Pirazzi are being analyzed to confirm the results of the initial tests. A disciplinary hearing will be opened by the world governing body of cycling, the UCI, where the riders could present their cases.

In a statement, the team sponsors said the news of non-negativity to the doping test of two GreenTeam athletes, on the eve of the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia has struck us and leaves us bewildered. The statement also reads we cannot do nothing, but only dissociate from what happened. The sponsor’s statement also reads that we have chosen to sponsor a young team, launching many of them and focusing on values such as daily work and struggle. The statement added we affirm our choice and want to push even more on it and also said in fact two bad apples can be removed and replaced by four healthy apples.

Bruno Reverberi, manager of Bardiani-CSF, has tried to distance himself and his Italian team as he fights to keep the all-Italian outfit alive. Reverberi said he found out about the positives at 6pm and called race director Mauro Vegni. Bruno added the UCI decided to put out their press release in the evening so as to not spoil the party atmosphere of the team presentation.

Bardiani-CSF now face a suspension of 15-45 days under article 7.12.1 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, subject to the decision of the UCI Disciplinary Commission.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Nicola Ruffoni Blames Positive Test On Prostate Infection

Friday 17, Feb 2017

  Detained Kazakh Biathletes Return Negative Doping Results

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In a joint statement, the Kazakhstan Biathlon Federation (KBF) and National Olympic Committee of Kazakhstan (KNOC) have announced that all 10 members of the Kazakhstan national biathlon team that were detained by police in Austria last week at the World Championships in Hochfilzen have returned negative results.

The Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office made a search of the hotel of the Kazakhstan national biathlon team was conducted on February 8, on the eve of the World Championships. Austrian authorities reported 30 officials seized a “significant volume” of items such as drugs, mobile phones and medical equipment. The International Biathlon Union then conducted blood and urine tests on the entire Kazakh team in coordination with the Austrian Anti-Doping Agency (NADA Austria).

The statement further reads that all the athletes were tested in full compliance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) procedures for all banned substances. The statement also reads this outcome comes as absolutely no surprise to the KBF and KNOC as the protection of clean athletes and the fight against doping, in all forms, remains a top priority for all anti-doping stakeholders in Kazakhstan.

The KBF and KNOC statement also reads that this whilst we completely support the right of the Austrian authorities and the International Biathlon Union (IBU) to rigorously pursue all anti-doping detection procedures has to be conducted based on internationally-recognized standards of fairness and the presumption of innocence granted for all athletes involved. It was also remarked that such procedures are clearly outlined in the WADA Code of Conduct. The statement went on to say that it is therefore with regret that the KBF and KNOC believe such procedures have been ignored on this occasion and that the Kazakhstani athletes involved have had their fundamental rights abused by this detention. The statement also said that Kazakh athletes in particular have complained of continuous interviews until 5 am, personal data exemption, and search and seizure activities during the ongoing training process.

The statement said this excessive and wrongful treatment of the Kazakh biathletes resulted in fatigue and stress that significantly limited their performances in the next day’s mixed relay event. It also reads that we urge the Austrian authorities and the IBU to investigate the whole process and treatment of the Kazakhstani athletes at the earliest opportunity to ensure such an incident is never repeated.

The IBU also released a statement and said the Criminal Intelligence Service Austria conducted the search of the Kazakhstan national biathlon team accommodations based on the investigation on possible anti-doping rules violations. It added the WADA-accredited laboratory in Seibersdorf reported all test results for urine, blood and serum were negative and added the samples were tested for all substances on the WADA prohibited list, including EPO and human growth hormone. It also said the IBU therefore is not considering any disciplinary actions against any athlete at this point in time. The world governing body of biathlon said the National Biathlon Federation of Kazakhstan has been cooperating with the state authorities, the IBU and NADA Austria during the investigation

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Detained Kazakh Biathletes Return Negative Doping Results

Sunday 05, Feb 2017

  Doping Ban Of Amateur Rugby Union Player Doubled By CAS

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has doubled the two-year ban imposed on Luke Willmott, a rugby union player who was previously banned in 2016.

Willmott, from Arnold in Nottingham, was initially banned for five years by an independent Rugby Football Union (RFU) Anti-Doping Panel, for attempted trafficking of Human Growth Hormone (hGH). The amateur rugby union player, who was previously registered with Derby RFC, appealed against the decision and his ban was reduced to two years by an independent appeal panel. An appeal against this decision was made in February 2017 to the CAS by World Rugby and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after which the highest court of sports announced its decision. A sanction of four years was subsequently agreed by World Rugby, WADA, the RFU, and Willmott.

The case dates back to June 2013 when 180 vials of “Jintoprin”, which is a commercial name for HGH, were seized at the border. This package was addressed to Luke Willmott, who at the time was Captain of Derby RFC.

UK Anti-Doping interviewed Willmott On July 3, 2014. Willmott was charged by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) on July 23, 2014 with having committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation for “Use or Attempted Use of a Prohibited Substance” pursuant to World Rugby Regulation 21.2.2. The explanation of Willmott resulted in an additional charge under World Rugby Regulation 21.2.7, “Trafficking or Attempted Trafficking in any Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method” being brought. The case was then heard by a panel convened by the Rugby Football Union.

UKAD Director of Operations, Pat Myhill, had then remarked that the Willmott case is an example of how important our work with law enforcement partners is. Myhill added we by intercepting this package were able to stop the potential supply of prohibited substances into the United Kingdom. Myhill went on to add that a crucial aspect of this case is that the end user thought they were buying Human Growth Hormone (HGH) but it was determined that the substance was not HGH after analysis by the Drug Control Centre.

  The UKAD Director of Operations also had remarked then that this is increasingly common, especially in relation to the production and supply of illicit substances such as HGH and steroids and also had commented that his is a major concern to UKAD, as not only is it a huge risk to clean sport, but it is a very significant risk to health.

UKAD Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, remarked after the CAS verdict that substances such as human growth hormone and steroids continue to pose a real and significant threat to both clean sport and to the health of our young people. Sapstead also added that trafficking is a serious offence and, alongside our partners, we will look to impose the maximum sanction on individuals who choose to break the rules. UKAD Chief Executive also said that identifying and targeting the supply of serious substances, such as steroids and human growth hormone, is a critical part of preventing the growing problem of image and performance enhancing drugs.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Doping Ban Of Amateur Rugby Union Player Doubled By CAS

Monday 03, Oct 2016

  Doping Progress Hailed By Tour De France Chief

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Christian Prudhomme, the general director of the Tour de France since 2007, has remarked anti-doping measures in the recent past have significantly changed image of cycling. Prudhomme said he believes that doping in cycling is under control and that all the measures that have been taken should be enough.

The Frenchman added cycling is no longer the principal sport to provide news on the use of illegal substances.  Long associated with systematic doping, cycling has been spared such close scrutiny during recent affairs that have plagued athletics, football, and the International Olympic Committee.

Till few years back, cycling was in all kinds of controversies ever since the Lance Armstrong doping scandal broke out. The disgraced cyclist, who was denied doping throughout his illustrious career, finally admitted to making use of banned substances and techniques such as blood doping, testosterone, cortisone, and human growth hormone during a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Prudhomme also commented there is no longer a feeling in the sport that change is necessary and said you don’t see champions who come from nowhere any more. The former French journalist the absence of champions coming “out of nowhere” and the believable and mappable progress of young riders has done the job for cycling. Prudhomme said the likes of Nairo Quintana and Esteban Chaves have a pedigree, they shone on the Tour de l’Avenir and it is reassuring.

The Tour de l’Avenir is the most prestigious under-23 race in the world and both Chaves and Quintana – who have finished on the podiums of the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana over the last few years – performed very well in their youth. The Tour de France chief also commented that the change in communication with the sport has been a huge factor in the progress he has seen. Prudhomme said cycling was seen as a closed sport until recently but it is not anymore and people talk. Prudhomme went on to comment that cycling has been cleaning up its act and added it was not easy but it has been cleaning up its act. He also said we want sport to be perfect, while society will never be and also said society is not full of saints or full of crooks. Prudhomme also said all the cheats and the liars on this earth did not gather up one day to decide they would be taking up cycling.

Prudhomme took charge of the Tour de France by inheriting the mantel of his predecessor, Jean-Marie Leblanc, in 2006, the year of the Operación Puerto doping scandal. Prudhomme has overseen doping scandals in 2007, 2008, and 2010 but admitted revelations about mechanical doping earlier this year was something he was not prepared for. The Frenchman called mechanical doping the “biggest challenge facing cycling.” The Tour de France director said he was scared eight days before the Tour of the rumors would mar the race but was relieved after the secretary of state announced the use of thermal imaging cameras to help locate any motors being used in the peloton.

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Thursday 21, Jul 2016

  Chad Mendes Gets Two-Year Suspension

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Chad Mendes, one of the world’s best featherweight fighters, has been suspended for a period of two years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

Mendes tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in an out-of-competition sample May 17, according to USADA. The banned substance GHRP-6, also known as growth-hormone releasing hexapeptide, was found in the system of Mendes. The 31-year-old would not be able to make a return to the UFC until June 10, 2018, two years from the date of the beginning of his provisional suspension.

Mendes admitted he did not do his homework and remarked this was a big mistake. The UFC featherweight title contender said he owns the mistake and will pay for it.

The Team Alpha Male product has been one of the UFC’s best 145-pound fighters for the last five years. The American mixed martial artist has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to May 17, 2016, the date of sample collection, including forfeiture of any title, ranking, purse or other compensation.

The #4 in official UFC featherweight rankings, Mendes is ranked the #5 featherweight in the world by Sherdog and #8 featherweight in the world by Fight Matrix. Chad Mendes twice earned NCAA All-American honors made his World Extreme Cagefighting debut against Erik Koch on March 6, 2010 at WEC 47 and his UFC debut was against judo black belt Michihiro Omigawa on February 5, 2011 at UFC 126.

The former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler last fought against Frankie Edgar at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale in December where Mendes suffered a knockout loss.

What Is GHRP-6?

GHRP-6 (Growth Hormone Releasing Hexapeptide) is a prohibited substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances and Mimetics under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. It belongs to the class of drugs known as growth hormone releasing peptides but it is not the same as human growth hormone (hGH). GHRP-6 is designed for improving natural production of growth hormone in the body and is commonly used by athletes and bodybuilders without requiring any “cycling” or post cycle therapy.

Growth hormone is believed to be a performance enhancing substance. Its use is associated with reductions in body fat and improvements in the levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) that both increases protein availability and inhibits cell death. These properties of IGF-1 facilitate significantly more efficient muscle growth & repair and aid recovery time from exercise and injury.

GHRP-6 is known to significantly increase appetite as it acts as a mimetic of ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”). It indirectly results in increased hGH production in the pituitary, primarily through ghrelin release and the hGH travels to the liver and signals it to produce IGF-1. This means many advantages for athletes such as decreased recovery times, decreased body fat, improved muscle tissue repair, and improved body composition. Growth Hormone Releasing Hexapeptide is usually injected though it may be used in cream form. Administration of GHRP-6, IGF-1 or hGH is banned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

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Sunday 17, Jul 2016

  Rory McIlroy Delivers Astonishing Attack On Golf At Olympics

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Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy has launched an astonishing attack on golf at Olympics by telling the media he has not been blood tested in advance of golf’s return to the Olympics at the Rio Games in August. McIlroy also casually asserted he could take human growth hormone (HGH) “and get away with it.”

McIlroy added he thinks blood testing is something that needs to happen in golf just to make sure that it is a clean sport going forward. McIlroy also commented he thinks if golf wants to be seen as a mainstream Olympic sport then it has to get into line with the other sports that test more rigorously. The Northern Irish professional golfer who is a member of both the European and PGA Tours said he gets tested four or five times a year and even that is only a urine test, not a blood test, so it is very little compared to the rest of the Olympic sports.

The comments caught the attention of the World Anti-Doping Agency and WADA spokesperson Catherine MacLean remarked the Montreal-based organization that oversees drug testing for the Olympics will keep a watchful eye on golf. MacLean added WADA does find Rory McIlroy’s comments troubling and also said anti-doping organizations under the World Anti-Doping Code are required to implement testing programs that test the right athletes, the right way, for the right substances at the right time, and WADA will continue to monitor anti-doping programs in golf as it does with all other sports as part of its Code compliance activities.

MacLean said it is common knowledge that a number of prohibited substances and methods are only detectable through blood testing. The WADA spokesperson also commented golfers participating in the Rio Olympic Games should expect to be blood-tested by anti-doping organizations in the lead-up and during the Games.

Golfers eligible for the Olympics were due to be subjected to random blood testing administered by the International Golf Federation starting on May 6. However, McIlroy said the International Golf Federation gave him only a single urine test on the Friday of the U.S. Open at Oakmont before he announced his withdrawal from the Olympic competition on June 22.

The 27-year-old is one of 20 players to have withdrawn from next month’s Games, citing fears about the Zika virus. The Northern Irishman said he doesn’t think anyone can blame me for being too honest.

The drug-testing protocols of IGF were defended by its spokesperson. An IGF spokesperson said the Olympic eligible golfers have been blood tested “multiple times” since May 6 and also affirmed more stringent doping controls are in place. The IGF spokesperson said McIlroy was tested under the WADA accredited IGF program and would have continued to be tested had he not withdrawn and also commented the IGF and national anti-doping programs are actively conducting testing on the IGF Registered Testing Pool and those athletes will continue to be subject to such testing through the Olympics which includes blood, whereabouts and out of competition testing.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Rory McIlroy Delivers Astonishing Attack On Golf At Olympics

Monday 11, Jul 2016

  Two Rugby Union Players Banned By UK Anti-Doping

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UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has announced two Rugby Union players have been suspended from all sport following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.

Dan Lancaster, a rugby union player from Lincolnshire, was suspended from all sport for four years following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation for attempted use of anabolic steroids. This case dates back to April 2015 when 300 ampoules of “Testapron Testosterone Propionate” that is a commercial name for anabolic steroids were seized at the UK border. The package was addressed to Dan Lancaster, who at that time was registered at Cleethorpes RFC.

Lancaster was interviewed on May 7, 2015 by UK Anti-Doping and was charged by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) with having committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation for “Use or Attempted Use of a Prohibited Substance” pursuant to World Rugby Regulation 21.2.2 on June 5, 2015. The case of Dan Lancaster was heard by a panel convened by the Rugby Football Union and it was determined that the rugby union player was guilty of the Anti-Doping Rule Violation. The RFU-convened panel imposed a period of ineligibility of three years and six months as a result of his prompt admission. The reduction in ban applied by the RFU panel was appealed by UK Anti-Doping and it was upheld by an RFU Appeal Panel and the ban on Lancaster was increased to four years. He is banned from all sport from 5 June 2015 to midnight on 4 June 2019.

UKAD Director of Operations, Pat Myhill remarked the Lancaster case highlights how important our work with law enforcement partners has become. Through our close working relationships with UK Borders and local police forces, we are able to deter and prevent doping through the interception of packages, stemming the supply of prohibited substances into the United Kingdom. Myhill also commented that the ease of access to substances through the internet is a major concern for UKAD. All too often we see sports people, and members of the public, purchasing substances online with no idea of what the substances contain and also added that he would encourage anyone who has information about the purchase or supply of illicit substances to contact us in confidence via Reportdoping.com.

In another development, Luke Willmott was suspended from all sport for two years following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation for Attempted Trafficking of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). The case dates back to June 2013, when 180 vials of “Jintoprin”, which is a commercial name for HGH, were seized at the border. This package was addressed to Luke Wilmott, who at the time was Captain of Derby RFC. A RFU-convened panel determined that Willmott was guilty of the Anti-Doping Rule Violation and imposed a period of Ineligibility of five years but his ban was reduced on the appeal of Willmott to two years due to the admissions he made in evidence. UKAD Director of Operations, Pat Myhill said a crucial aspect of this case is that the end user thought they were buying Human Growth Hormone (HGH) but it was determined after analysis by the Drug Control Centre, King’s College London that the substance was not HGH.

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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.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Whistleblower Accuses UK Anti-Doping Of ‘Catastrophic Failure’

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 06, Feb 2016

  Chinese Athletes Confess To Doping

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Athletics’ world governing body is investigating claims of state-sponsored doping of Chinese track athletes. This was after a letter attributed to a squad of ten athletes, including world record holder Wang Junxia, surfaced in the Chinese media.

Wang said she and her teammates were forced to take large dosages of illegal drugs over the year. In the letter that was reportedly penned in 1995, Wang, who set world records in the 3000 meters and 10,000 meters in 1993, remarked women on the team used to secretly throw away the pills forced on them and added coach Ma Junren used to personally inject drug into his athletes, which was known as “Ma’s Army.”

The letter said it is absolutely true that Ma forced us to take large doses of illegal drugs. It was further added by the athletes in the letter that we were sad when we revealed this to you, and seriously worried that might impair China’s reputation, as well as it might devalue the gold medals we won and it was added but we must disclose these criminal behaviors because we don’t want the same things happen to the next generation.

The letter under investigation and co-signed by nine of the teammates of Wang Junxia was sent to Zhao Yu, a journalist. The letter was addressed to Yu, who published a book titled An Investigation of Ma’s Army in 1997. The letter, however, remained secret for close to twenty years until it was published on a leading Chinese online sports portal. Signatories, other than Wang Junxia, to the letter are Ma Ningning, Wang Yuan, Lu Ou, Wang Xiaoxia, Zhang Linli, Liu Li, Lu Yi, Liu Dong, and Zhang Lirong.

The Chinese Athletics Federation has been asked by the International Association of Athletics Federations for help to verify the letter. The athletes could be stripped of their titles and banned from the sport as well as face financial sanctions if the letter is verified as an admission of guilt by the athletes.

The Chinese women distance runners won three world titles and four world records in one month that changed the history of their sport. Wang took nearly 42 seconds off the 10,000 meter race record in Beijing and was awarded with a place in the Hall of Fame of the IAAF for her notable achievements in the 1993 championships in Tianjin, Stuttgart, and Beijing.

The intense training regimen of authoritarian Ma involved his strict bans on long hair and dating, training regime on the high Tibetan plateau, and his use of exotic elixirs of caterpillar fungus and powdered seahorse. The team however mutinied against the chain-smoking super coach within months and accused hum of keeping the three Mercedes cars and pocketing the cash prizes they had won for himself.

In the past, both Wang Junxia and Ma Jinren have denied doping. In 2012, a retired team doctor Yue Xinxian told Fairfax Media that the use of anabolic androgenic steroids and human growth hormone was “rampant” as part of a scientific training regimen in the 1980s and into the 1990s.

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