World Championships 2015: Doping report claims put world athletics body on the back foot

Leaked report claims a third of competing athletes admit to breaking rules

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The Independent Online

The world governing body of athletics has denied that it suppressed the publication of a report showing that a third of athletes at the 2011 World Championships had confessed to doping, following more alarming claims about drugs abuse in the sport.

Around a third of the 1,800 athletes competing at the World Championships that begin in Beijing at the weekend have admitted to having broken anti-doping rules in the past year, according to a leaked report citing an anonymous survey.

It was conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) with the assistance of researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany, after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) gave the organisation access to its athletes during the 2011 championships.

The details were partially revealed two years ago, but the entire report has never been issued.

The lead author of the report, Rolf Ulrich, told The Sunday Times he had been barred from discussing it. “The IAAF is blocking it,” he said. “I think they are stakeholders with Wada and just blocked the whole thing.”

A Wada spokesman said: “Wada sought the agreement of the IAAF to carry out the project at the Daegu World Championships in 2011.

“Their consent was given so that researchers had access to athletes at the event, and was conditional upon any publication first being approved by the IAAF. The IAAF has not approved the publication of the project.” But the IAAF denies it is suppressing the findings, saying in a statement yesterday it “has never vetoed publication of this article”. It explained that it understands the research “was submitted for publication but rejected”.

However, it added that it has “serious reservations as to the interpretation of the results made by the research group, as confirmed by high-profile experts in social science”.

Athletics insiders point out that a large proportion of athletes confessing to having doped via an anonymous survey conducted on an iPad is by no means conclusive proof that a large proportion had been cheating. There would even be motivation for clean athletes to lie, if they thought it could encourage proper action to be taken.

The fresh disclosure came as British sprinter Richard Kilty said he expects almost three-quarters of the men who will line up for the 100m final in the Beijing championships to be former drugs cheats.

Three of the four American athletes selected for the 100m – the world’s fastest man in 2015 Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers – have all served doping bans. Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, ranked second in the world this year, has also previously been suspended for drugs. The formerly banned Qatar sprinter Femi Ogunode, with a best time of 9.91 seconds this season, should also qualify for the final.

“You have probably got potentially, out of the eight finalists – if you look on paper – at least five [who] have failed tests.” Mr Kilty said. “Hopefully there are some people who perform great and shine a bit of light on it. Hopefully I can be one of those.”

On Wednesday, the IAAF’s 213 member nations will vote to elect either Seb Coe or the Ukrainian former pole vaulter Sergey Bubka as president. Mr Coe has pledged a fully independent, better-funded drug-testing body and has led the IAAF’s refutation of weeks of allegations, calling claims in the The Sunday Times “a declaration of war” on the sport.

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