LORD COE, the vice-president of the athletics world body IAAF, has called recent media coverage of doping allegations “a war” on his sport, and said it was time to fight back.
German broadcaster ARD/WRD and the British newspaper The Sunday Times released fresh allegations based on the leaked results of 12,000 blood tests, involving 5,000 athletes, and according to their analysis say they found 800 athletes with suspicious results that were not followed up.
The analysis looks at blood doping, where illegal methods are used to boost the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, giving endurance athletes an edge.
Their allegations include casting doubt on the winners of a third of athletics medal winners in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012. Amongst the names is reportedly one leading British athlete, although it has been made clear that there were no suspicious results from Mo Farah.
The IAAF released a statement that “refuted outright” the allegations that they had not correctly followed up on tests.
Sebastian Coe, speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday (August 5), said: “The use of that database, however it got into their possession, displayed either breathtaking ignorance or a level of malevolence around a set of readings you simply cannot extrapolate beyond.”
He added that the “selective use of so-called information” was sensationalist, and continued “this is absolutely an attempt to destroy the reputation of the athletes and our sport.”
The controversy has kicked off just weeks before the IAAF World Championships, due to be held in Beijing on August 22-30.