WADA launches urgent investigation into athletics drug claims

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has responded to the most recent wave of doping allegations made against international athletics by confirming its Independent Commission will be launching an urgent investigation.

The subject of alleged doping in athletics has again returned to the public spotlight in the wake of a documentary aired on German television earlier this month.

The programme claimed German broadcaster ARD and British newspaper The Sunday Times had obtained a leaked database belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which contained over 12,000 blood tests taken from approximately 5000 athletes between 2001 and 2012.

In a statement issued on Friday, WADA president Sir Craig Reedie insisted that the Independent Commission would receive full cooperation from the IAAF during its investigation and also condemned the leaking of confidential material to the media.

“WADA is committed to protecting the confidentiality of athletes and, therefore, has asked its Independent Commission to commence its investigation with urgency,” said Reedie.

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

“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.

“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.”

Another ARD documentary, concerning allegations of doping in Russian athletics and aired late last year, led to the formation of the Independent Commission, chaired by WADA’s founding president, Dick Pound.

The Independent Commission is scheduled to deliver its report by the end of the year, unless WADA president Reedie opts to extend the mandate.

In a subsequent statement, the IAAF announced it “warmly welcomes today’s clear and unequivocal statement by the World Anti-Doping Agency.”