Lord Coe backs IAAF to issue robust response as doping allegations continue

Lord Coe
Lord Coe

Lord Coe has backed the International Association of Athletics Federations to issue a “robust and detailed response” to a Sunday Times report alleging widespread doping in the sport.

The newspaper, and German broadcaster ARD/WDR, obtained leaked data relating to 12,000 blood tests conducted on more than 5,000 athletes. Experts enlisted by the Sunday Times claimed the data showed that more than a third of medals – including 55 golds – awarded at Olympic Games and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes with suspicious tests.

It was further alleged that none of those medals had been taken away by the authorities, and Coe, who is running as a presidential candidate for the IAAF this month, is confident the sport’s world governing body will address the report thoroughly.

“In response to today’s media reports, I know that the IAAF takes these allegations extremely seriously and it will issue a robust and detailed response to them and continue to work closely, as it has always done, with WADA,” the 2012 Olympic chief wrote on his Twitter account.

The IAAF’s initial statement expressed the organisation’s unhappiness that the data had been published at all and said it would now be contacting both media outlets for more information.

‘’The IAAF is aware of serious allegations made against the integrity and competence of its anti-doping programme,’’ a statement from the organisation read.

‘’The relevant allegations were broadcast in Germany yesterday 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.’’

The Sunday Times reported that the IAAF had threatened to take out an injunction preventing the newspaper from publishing details of the files before it dropped its action on Friday.

The data, which belongs to the IAAF but was released by a whistleblower, has been analysed by two leading anti-doping experts for the Sunday Times – scientist Robin Parisotto and exercise physiologist Michael Ashenden.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said it was ‘’very alarmed’’ by the Sunday Times report.

WADA president Sir Craig Reedie said: ‘’WADA is very disturbed by these new allegations that have been raised; which will, once again, shake the foundation of clean athletes worldwide.’’