Blutprobe in einem Reagenzglas © Foto: Shawn Hempel


Experts present new analysis of IAAF blood test data

von Hajo Seppelt, ARD Anti-Doping Desk

Holes in the IAAF anti-doping monitoring system apparently much bigger than previous thought - young Russian athletes with alarming test results.

Experts say that the holes in the anti-doping monitoring system of the athletics world governing body, the IAAF, are apparently much graver than previous thought. Respected Australian blood doping experts Michael Ashenden and Robin Parisotto have been commissioned by ARD and London's Sunday Times newspaper to examine a confidential IAAF data base containing 12,000 blood test results from some 500 athletes in the period 2001 to 2011. They've now presented the latest results of their analysis.

In particular, Ashenden and Parisotto noted the lack of global out of competition tests in the IAAF data base.

"The data base reveals that out of competition testing was not performed at all in 2007 and 2008," Parisotto told ARD. "With the Biological passport in the pipeline in 2009, it would appear that the opportunity was lost to establish an extensive base line for most, if not all athletes in the registered pool."

Parisotto also criticised the IAAF’s anti-doping work after the introduction of the biological passport programme in 2009.

"In the years following the implementation of the passport, the IAAF conducted on average some 25 percent of tests out of competition," Parisotto said. "It is perplexing why the out of competition test numbers are comparatively low to in competition testing numbers. It is disingenuous for any sport to trumpet a strong passport programme, if they are not using the tools at their disposal with full effect."

Parisotto's colleague Ashenden criticised the number and average delays of follow up tests on athletes who had recorded suspicious results.

"There are approximately 500 abnormal blood results between 2009 and 201, and according to the guidelines, they have to be sent immediately for expert review," Ashenden told ARD. "Yet according to the data base, the next blood test was conducted with an average delay of around eight months and in many cases more than a year. According to the data base, around  a quarter of all abnormal values had no further blood tests at all."

Ashenden - who like Parisotto was one of the inventors of the method for detecting the doping substance EPO in the urine - said he was concerned in particular by how common doping appeared to be among young Russian athletes.

"Evidence that systematic blood doping had seeped into under-age athletics was unmistakable as far back as 2007," Ashenden said. "Eight of the nine Russian females had values beyond one in 10,000. But it wasn't just females. Russian males also had the three most abnormal values at every event. The probability of that happening if the Russians were clean is less than one in 20 million."

Ashenden also criticised the infrequency of IAAF blood tests on young Kenyan athletes.

"Only seven Kenyans were tested at the Junior World Championships in 2010," Ashenden said. "That means 30 medals, and just seven of the 215 blood tests were allocated to Kenyans. And that makes me question just how hard the IAAF was trying to monitor them."

The IAAF didn't respond to ARD requests for a statement on the experts' analysis. In the ARD documentary, "Doping Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics," broadcast on August 1, the IAAF rejected Ashenden and Parisotto's statements as "completely false."

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