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WADA opens new investigation into German documentary’s allegations on doping abuse

August 07, 2015, 16:48 UTC+3
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has asked its Independent Commission to commence its investigation with urgency
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© AP Photo/Christophe Ena

OTTAWA, August 7. /TASS/. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced on Friday that its independent commission would immediately launch a new investigation into doping accusations voiced in a documentary film aired by Germany’s broadcaster ARD last week.

"WADA is committed to protecting the confidentiality of athletes; and, therefore, has asked its Independent Commission to commence its investigation with urgency," WADA quoted its President Sir Craig Reedie as saying in a statement.

IAAF welcomes WADA’s new probe

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) welcomed on Friday the new probe.

"The IAAF warmly welcomes today’s clear and unequivocal statement by the World Anti-Doping Agency concerning the recent accusations against the veracity of the IAAF’s anti-doping program," the IAAF said in a statement on Friday.

"The IAAF, like WADA, is committed to protecting the interests of clean athletes but believes strongly that all anti-doping initiatives need to be handled strictly within the framework of the WADA Code," the statement said.

The German television channel ARD aired a documentary on August 1, "Doping - Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics," which alleged that ARD and The Sunday Times had obtained a leaked database belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which contained more than 12,000 blood tests from around 5,000 athletes in the years 2001 to 2012.

ARD further alleged that a third of medals (146, including 55 golds) in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests but none of these athletes have been stripped of their medals.

"We are confident that the IAAF, which has formally agreed to full cooperation with the Commission with respect to its inquiries, is equally committed," Reedie siad.

"WADA deplores the manner in which this data was obtained, leaked to the media and analyzed," Reedie said. "To suggest or imply doping with respect to any athlete whose data is contained within the database is, at the very least, irresponsible and potentially libelous."

"I ask that any athlete, or anti-doping organization, concerned that their rights are being eroded or inappropriately challenged refer those concerns to the Commission, which intends to commence its work immediately," the WADA president added.

WADA announced on Wednesday that the leaked international athletics database did not originate from its Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS).

According to the agency, ADAMS is an online data management tool that allows athlete data entry and storage, as well as data-sharing and reporting to take place in a highly secure environment that restricts access to all but relevant parties.

The Sunday Times also alleged that Russian athletes suspected of doping abuse had won 80% of medals for their country at Olympic Games and World Championships between 2001 and 2012.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) denied the new accusations saying it would comment on the situation after WADA’s Independent Commission completes its investigation.

"We are officially stating that the information voiced in regard to RUSADA is either does not correspond to reality or speaks for the incompetence of the documentary’s authors," the Russian agency said in its statement.

"Within the frames of an investigation, launched by RUSADA in December 2014, new information regarding Russian athletes will be thoroughly studied and the results of this investigation will be reported with the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency," the statement said. "The final commentaries will be made after the independent commission of WADA completes its work."

Previous doping scandals with Russian athletes

Russia came into the focus of a doping scandal last December, when German television aired a series of documentaries on alleged doping abuse in Russian sports. The ARD’s two-part documentary, entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case), claimed that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.

The All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) was further hit by a series of high-profile doping scandals starting this year. On January 30, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency RUSADA suspended country’s titled athletes Tatiana Chernova and Yulia Zaripova over doping abuse.

Runner Zaripova, a 2011 world athletics champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was disqualified for two years and six months from July 25, 2013. Chernova, a 2008 and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2011 world champion, was disqualified for two years from July 22, 2013.

RUSADA also announced in January that Olympic Champions in race walk Valery Borchin, Sergey Kirdyapkin and Olga Kaniskina as well as Russia’s 2011 World Champion Sergey Bakulin and 2011 World Championship silver medalist Vladimir Kanaikin were suspended after they were found guilty of violating anti-doping regulations.

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