Some extreme doping test results show athletes' health at risk: expert

Mon Aug 3, 2015 10:11am EDT
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By Ossian Shine and Lincoln Feast

KUALA LUMPUR/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Some of the readings from athletes' blood tests leaked by a whistleblower for a report exposing suspected doping were so extreme they were "downright dangerous", one of the experts cited in the report told Reuters on Monday.

"There are real questions to be asked if there is no action taken, particularly for the results taken post-2009," said Robin Parisotto, an inventor of the test used to detect the blood doping agent EPO. "Some of the values in these athletes were so extreme that they were downright dangerous and the risks to their health were indisputable."

The head of world athletics defended the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) anti-doping record as global sporting bodies called for a thorough probe into the latest allegations to plunge international sport into crisis.

That followed a report by Britain's Sunday Times newspaper and Germany's ARD/WDR broadcaster on Sunday that they had obtained from a whistleblower secret IAAF data that indicated suspected widespread blood doping in athletics between 2001 and 2012.

In an interview, Australian Parisotto, one of two scientific experts cited in the reports, said more than 800 athletes had recorded one or more "abnormal" results, defined as a result that had less than one chance in 100 of being natural.

Such athletes accounted for 146 medals at top events, including 55 golds, the Sunday Times said.

Parisotto noted that not all the abnormal results necessarily indicated doping, as factors such as the timing of tests, altitude and testing conditions could have led to some suspicious outcomes.

"But there were values that were ... quite extreme and even taking into consideration confounding factors, there was really no disputing what that data was telling us," he said.   Continued...

A volunteer with IAAF's local organizing committee displays the credential given to athletes who are selected for drug testing in the anti-doping offices at the 11th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Osaka August 24, 2007.  The competition begins August 25.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder (JAPAN