WADA defends TUE system after leaked data

Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:28am EDT
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SEVRES, France (Reuters) - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Wednesday defended the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) system after some athletes' confidential medical data was leaked by a group of Russian hackers, shedding light on potential abuse.

A group identified as APT28 and Fancy Bear by U.S. cyber-security researchers revealed TUEs for leading athletes including Tour de France cycling champions Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins and tennis grand slam winners Serena Williams and Rafa Nadal.

TUEs allow athletes to take banned substances for verified medical needs and are signed off by sports federations.

"TUEs fall under international standards... They are scrutinized by the medical community," WADA Senior Science Director Olivier Rabin told a joint news conference with International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM).

"WADA can review and appeal the TUEs. If there is a risk of abuse, WADA has the right to overturn," Rabin said, adding that the leaked information had only very limited value.

Suggestions that the number of TUEs had dramatically increased in the past year are false, added Valerie Fourneyron, the head Health, Medicine and Research at WADA.

"(The number seems to have increased) because more and more national anti-doping agencies have put the TUEs into ADAMS (Anti-Doping Administration and Management System)," she said.

"Several countries in the past year have put all their TUEs on ADAMS - Italy, France, Tunisia, Malaysia."

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford defended Wiggins on Monday, saying the 2012 Tour de France champion's TUEs were "not being used to enhance performance".   Continued...

A woman walks into the head office of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada November 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo