The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) said it was “very alarmed” by claims that a third of Olympic and world championships medals, including 55 golds, for endurance events were won by athletes who recorded suspicious doping tests.
The data, claimed to be represent the biggest leak of blood-test data, covers 12,000 tests from 5,000 athletes and was given to the Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD by a whistleblower at the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The newspaper says none of the athletes involved was stripped of their medals and that the leak lifts the lid on “the extraordinary extent of cheating by athletes at the world’s most prestigious events”.
The report also claims that at least that at least 800 athletes – one in seven of those named in the files – have recorded blood-test results described by an expert as “highly suggestive of doping or at the very least abnormal”.
Responding to a documentary highlighting the claims broadcast by ARD, the president of Wada, Sir Craig Reedie, said: “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 said that given the nature of the allegations, they would be handed over immediately to the organisation’s independent commission for further investigation.
“These allegations require swift and close scrutiny to determine whether there have in fact been breaches under the world anti-doping code and, if so, what actions are required to be taken by Wada and/or other bodies,” Reedie said.
“As always, Wada is committed to doing what’s necessary to ensure a level playing field for clean athletes of the world.”
Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, where he is attending IOC (International Olympic Committee) meetings, Reedie stressed the allegations, which he described as “wild” and “wide”, were unproven and that athletes were assumed innocent until found guilty.
“It is wrong just to make any kind of assumption on allegations in the media,” he said.
Ten medals at London 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded dubious results, it is claimed.
Mo Farah, who won gold medals in the 10,000 metres and 5,000 metres, andwhose coach has been accused of doping others of his charges – claims he strenuously denies – is not among them. However, there is one leading British athlete with suspicious readings.
Another allegation is that more than a third of the world’s fastest times in endurance events were recorded by athletes whose tests have triggered suspicion.
Robin Parisotto, described as one of the “world’s foremost anti-doping experts”, reviewed the data. “Never have I seen such an alarmingly abnormal set of blood values,” he told the Sunday Times.
The evidence is not cast-iron proof of doping but raises more uncomfortable questions about the extent of cheating in the sport, and the number of people who might be getting away with it, ahead of this month’s World AthleticsChampionships in Beijing.