Clean athletes let down by system: Tallent

Tue Aug 4, 2015 6:50am EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - If you were ever looking for a victim of the scourge of blood doping in athletics, it would be hard to go past Australian race walker Jared Tallent.

The 30-year-old finished second in the 50 kilometer walking events at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics behind competitors who were subsequently found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs.

Track and field has been plunged into crisis this week following reports from Britain's Sunday Times newspaper and Germany's ARD/WDR broadcaster that they had obtained IAAF data that indicated suspected widespread blood doping in athletics between 2001 and 2012.

The scale of the accusations came as no surprise to Tallent, who feels let down by a system that he says needs changing.

"I'd have a lot more gold medals without blood doping, I don't have any at the moment," Tallent told Reuters by telephone from his home in Adelaide on Tuesday.

"It's good that stuff like this is coming out, people need to know. Maybe now the sport will actually do something about it."

At Beijing in 2008, Tallent finished second behind Italian Alex Schwazer. In 2012, just before the London Olympics, Schwazer tested positive for erythropoietin, more commonly referred to as EPO, a substance which can increase the blood's oxygenation.

A tearful Schwazer admitted to using EPO just before London but said he been clean in Beijing so was allowed to keep the gold medal he won in China.   Continued...

Jared Tallent of Australia holds his national flag as he celebrates finishing third place in the men's 50 km race walk final during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse