European supremo calls on IAAF for clarification over mass doping claims
European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen has demanded the sport`s global governing body the IAAF clarify the situation regarding new allegations of mass doping in athletics revealed in a documentary on German television and in the Sunday Times.
Paris: European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen has demanded the sport`s global governing body the IAAF clarify the situation regarding new allegations of mass doping in athletics revealed in a documentary on German television and in the Sunday Times.
The 69-year-old Norwegian -- who assumed his post earlier this year -- was reacting to the leaking of 12,000 blood tests of 5,000 athletes from the IAAF.
It prompted athletics` present state to be compared to the Lance Armstrong era in cycling by Michael Ashenden, one of the two renowned anti-doping experts used by German broadcaster ARD and the Sunday Times, who described it as a "diabolical position".
Hansen also said the imminent changing of the guard at the top of the IAAF later this month, when either British middle distance legend Sebastian Coe or Ukrainian pole vault icon Sergey Bubka will replace the elderly long-time president Lamine Diack, would he hoped be a defining moment for the sport.
"Without comment on the veracity of the various claims or the leaking of confidential files from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), European Athletics shares the concerns expressed by the President (Craig Reedie) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)," said Hansen in a statement.
"We call on the IAAF, as the world governing body for the sport, to clarify the situation and step up its already leading efforts to combat the scourge of doping," added Hansen, who outside of his official role trades in stamps.
Hansen, who is implementing an expansion of anti-doping education programme for young European athletes, said that the coronation of a new president of the IAAF would be a pivotal moment for a sport under a huge amount of pressure.
"The IAAF elections in Beijing later this month will bring new leadership to the organisation. The importance of this opportunity for change cannot be overstated," said Hansen.
"European Athletics is pleased to note that both of the presidential candidates, Sergey Bubka and Sebastian Coe, have expressed their commitment to effectively addressing the issue of doping."
Hansen, though, admitted that the battle to combat doping would be a long one.
"We are under no illusions that there is an easy fix, and we are currently developing other ideas that we can introduce in Europe as examples for the rest of the sport around the world or propose to the IAAF and WADA for worldwide implementation," said Hansen.
"I will give this work an increased priority in the coming months."
Both Ashenden and his fellow anti-doping expert Robin Parisotto came to some remarkable conclusions, none of them of any comfort to the embattled IAAF.
Among them was the analysis of the blood levels of the medal-winners at world championships and Olympics between 2001 and 2012, every third medal was won by athletes, for whom one or even both experts had identified suspicious blood values in the database.
"Often two out of the three medallists had probably engaged in blood doping during their career," Ashenden told the programme.
"In one event the entire podium was comprised of athletes, who in my opinion had most probably doped at some point in their career."
Ashenden lashed out at the IAAF and their anti-doping policy.
"For the IAAF to have harvested millions of dollars from the broadcasting of athletics competitions...yet only devote a relative pittance of those funds towards anti-doping.
"...in my opinion (it`s) a shameful betrayal of their primary duty to police their sport and to protect the clean athletes," he said.
The values in the tests are not proof of cheating and the IAAF rejected criticism of its management.
On Sunday the IAAF issued a terse press release taking to task the media outlets for releasing private medical information.
"The IAAF is aware of serious allegations made against the integrity and competence of its anti-doping programme," read the statement.
"The relevant allegations were broadcast on WDR (ARD) in Germany yesterday (Saturday) and have been repeated in an article in the Sunday Times newspaper today.
"They are largely based on analysis of an IAAF Data Base of private and confidential medical data which has been obtained without consent.
"The IAAF is now preparing a detailed response to both media outlets and will reserve the right to take any follow up action necessary to protect the rights of the IAAF and its athletes."