ZURICH (Reuters) - The IOC said it had not detected any significant abuse of clenbuterol after finding “very low levels” of the banned substance during re-testing of samples from the Beijing Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee’s comments on Monday came one day after German broadcaster ARD reported that traces of the banned substance were found in samples provided by members of the Jamaican sprint team at the Games in 2008.
Jamaica won 10 medals in the sprint events led by Usain Bolt, who took gold in the men’s 100 and 200 meters.
In a statement, the IOC said that “very low levels of clenbuterol” were found in the cases of athletes from a number of countries and different sports. It said the athletes were innocent and could not give any more details.
Without mentioning Jamaica or the ARD allegations, the IOC said that all values were “in the range of potential meat contamination cases”.
It said it “carefully deliberated” whether or not to proceed with the cases and consulted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
According to the IOC, WADA said that it could not find “any significant and consistent pattern of abuse of clenbuterol in these cases and that it would be appropriate not to take these cases any further”.
Jamaican officials said they hoped the IOC and WADA would set the record straight with regard to the ARD report.
“I think some of the innuendoes and assertions have been unfortunate, if not outright false, and hopefully these will be corrected by the IOC and WADA in due course,” Jamaica Olympic Association president Mike Fennell told Reuters.
He said his association had not received any official notification from the IOC or WADA about the allegations.
“It is clear that there are many people in the world that want to get at Jamaica because some of them feel that we have been far too successful and we do not deserve to be successful,” Fennell added.
“They cannot believe that this little country can produce so many superstars and they are trying to find some way to damage that.
“Our athletes are clean and we respect the anti-doping rules.”
Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, also questioned if the report was aimed “at trying to destroy Jamaica’s good name.”
“I find it very interesting that the WADA official that they showed in the documentary made no mention of sprinters, but yet still they have extrapolated from Jamaican athletes to sprinters,” he said.
The IOC stores samples for a decade to test with newer methods or for new substances. It ordered re-tests of samples from Beijing in the run-up to last year’s Rio Olympics to try and root out drug cheats.
Clenbuterol is a performance-enhancing substance sometimes found in weight-loss pills and is on the WADA banned list.
In 2011, more than 100 players tested positive for clenbuterol during the under-17 soccer world championship held in Mexico. They were also acquitted of any wrongdoing after FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, said they were victims of a health problem in the country.
However, double Tour de France champion Alberto Contador of Spain was handed a two-year ban for testing positive for clenbuterol during the 2010 race, despite maintaining that he had eaten contaminated meat.
Jamaica were stripped of the Beijing 4x100 meters gold medal in January when Nesta Carter was found in re-tests of his sample to have taken the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.
The whole relay team lost their medals as a result, including Bolt.
Writing by Brian Homewood, additional reporting by Kayon Raynor in Kingston; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Gene Cherry