The World Anti-Doping Agency will launch an urgent investigation into widespread doping allegations in international athletics.
German broadcaster ARD/WDR and the Sunday Times gained access to a database containing more than 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes. It claimed more than 800 athletes – and a third of all medallists in endurance events at recent Olympics and World Championships – had suspicious blood test results which were not followed up by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
In a lengthy and detailed response by the IAAF to the claims, the athletics governing body said the allegations were “sensationalist and confusing”.
However, Wada president Sir Craig Reedie confirmed the matter had now been referred to its independent commission.
He said: “Wada is committed to protecting the confidentiality of athletes; and, therefore, has asked its independent commission to commence its investigation with urgency.
“We are confident that the IAAF, which has formally agreed to full cooperation with the commission with respect to its inquiries, is equally committed.”
While criticising the way the information was put into the public domain, Wada hopes its investigation – scheduled to deliver its report by the end of the year – will discover the truth.
Reedie’s statement continued: “Wada deplores the manner in which this data was obtained, leaked to the media and analysed. 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 libellous.”
The IAAF said it “warmly welcomes [the] clear and unequivocal statement” by Wada. Athletics’ world governing body also confirmed it has agreed to send its full database with pre-2009 data to Wada, and will fully co-operate on the analysis of its contents.