Paris: The IAAF dismissed today as “sensationalist and confusing” allegations of mass doping that have rocked the world of athletics in the build-up to this month’s world championships in Beijing.
In its first official reaction to the affair, world athletics’ governing body said it “strongly rejected” allegations of hundreds of suspicious blood tests from athletes.
It insisted it was taking every possible measure to combat doping.
“The published allegations were sensationalist and confusing,” the International Association of Athletics Federations claimed in their much-anticipated statement.
The IAAF’s 4,000-word detailed and robust response follows three days of stormy headlines since the weekend allegations by German television channel ARD and British newspaper The Sunday Times.
They obtained a database of 12,000 tests taken on 5,000 athletes which revealed “extraordinary” levels of doping.
Australian doping experts Michael Ashenden and Robin Parisot examined the results for ARD and the paper.
They said one third of athletics medals in endurance events at world championships and Olympics between 2001 and 2012 had given suspicious tests.
And they said that 800 athletes in disciplines from 800m to the marathon registered values considered suspicious or highly suspicious.
The IAAF however hit back, saying there was no perfect system for catching drug cheats and insisted it “has been at the forefront of drug testing for many years”.
It said “the results referred to were not positive tests. In fact, ARD and The Sunday Times both admit that their evaluation of the data did not prove doping”.
It boasted that “under its pioneering Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) system, more athletes have been banned for cheating by the IAAF than all other sports federations and national anti-doping agencies put together”.
The organisation pointed out that “a large proportion of these blood samples were collected in a period before the implementation of the ABP and cannot therefore be used as proof of doping”.