Sport

Outgoing athletics president brands doping record a 'joke'

Outgoing IAAF president Lamine Diack has spoken out over the latest doping controversy  
Martyn Ziegler

THE outgoing president of international athletics has defended the organisation's record on drug-testing and called the latest doping allegations "a joke".

Lamine Diack, who steps down as IAAF president at the end of August, also questioned whether there would be any redistribution of Olympic medals.

It comes after German broadcaster ARD/WDR gained access to a database containing more than 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes. They claim more than 800 athletes have had suspicious blood tests and that a third of all medals in endurance events at recent Olympics and world championships went to competitors who had a "dubious" blood count result during their career.

Diack, speaking to the media at the IOC session in Kuala Lumpur, said: "There is a film and a newspaper who are asking questions. We are going to answer them all.

"But it [doesn't mean] just because someone has a suspicious profile once that he was doped. When people say that there are medals to be redistributed from 2001 to 2012, it's just a farce."

"They are playing with the idea of a redistribution of medals. It's possible, if we prove with the new techniques at our disposal that someone doped. Otherwise, it's a joke. Just three weeks before the world championships, there is something behind [this].

"No one has been destabilised, we are stronger than that. Everything that has been done in the fight against doping has been made by IAAF."

Sebastian Coe, who is standing in the election to succeed Diack, has promised to take a hard line on drugs.

He said in his presidential manifesto: "The fight against those who continue to lie and cheat is not over - far from it - and it is crucial that we continue to increase resources in this battle for our sport's integrity and now is the time to dramatically close the gap between a positive test and the relevant sanction."

Coe also backed the IAAF to issue a "robust and detailed response" to the allegations.

WADA president Sir Craig Reedie has also expressed his concern, saying: "WADA is very disturbed by these new allegations that have been raised by ARD; which will, once again, shake the foundation of clean athletes worldwide."

He announced that the allegations would be handed over to the organisation's independent commission for further investigation.

Former WADA president Dick Pound said athletics could be facing a "major crisis" if the allegations are proven.

"If all this stuff is true it is a major crisis, much of which happened on the watch of the current president - and I'm sure he's concerned," he said. 

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