Sebastian Coe Says Athletics Cannot Lose Fight Against Doping As Allegations Rock Sport
British Olympic Association Chair Sebastian Coe "has admitted that athletics cannot afford to lose the battle against doping following the scandal that has engulfed two of the world's top sprinters," according to Martyn Ziegler of the PA. Positive tests by U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay and Jamaica's former world record holder, Asafa Powell, "have sent shockwaves through athletics." Coe: "Of course we would rather not wake up to the headlines that we have done today but we have taken a tough stance on doping and will continue to do so. We would rather have the short-term embarrassment from the sorts of stories we have today rather than a decline in the sport to a position where no one has any trust in the athletes. That's what we are fighting for" (PA, 7/16). In London, McEvoy & Williamson reported the IOC is "watching the fallout from the raft of recent positive doping tests with an eye on re-examining their chilled cavern of samples." IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said, "If the evidence is there, we could re-test at any time, particularly if new methods of detection come to light or if we discover new drugs are being used. We are watching developments closely and this could lead to re-opening the London samples." The implications for last summer’s London Games "are potentially far-reaching: tests were mandatory for the top five in every track-and-field event and another two finalists were tested randomly." However, the IOC "will not act precipitately because they can hold the samples for eight years and will try to balance the desire for the swiftest possible action against the need to let science develop to catch up with as yet undiscoverable drugs" (DAILY MAIL, 7/15). REUTERS' Naomi O'Leary reported Italian police are investigating Jamaican sprinters Powell and Sherone Simpson and their Canadian trainer, Chris Xuereb, "on suspicion of violating doping laws" (REUTERS, 7/16).
POWELL PLEADS INNOCENCE: In London, Rick Broadbent reported Powell said that "the lies need to stop as the PR campaign to save his career cranked into overdrive." Powell "has admitted to testing positive for a stimulant, but is adamant that he is not a cheat." Reports that police had seized 50 vials and boxes of drugs "were dismissed on Powell’s official Twitter account." Powell wrote, "The lies and sensationalism to sell stories needs to stop" (LONDON TIMES, 7/16). Also in London, Simon Hart reported Powell is "blaming his positive drug test for the stimulant oxilofrine on a range of new nutritional supplements prescribed to him by a physiotherapist he has only been working with for two months." Jamaican teammate Sherone Simpson also claims "to have been given the same supplements and failed a drug test for the identical substance" (TELEGRAPH, 7/15).
THIRD POSITIVE TEST: REUTERS' reported Olympic discus thrower Allison Randall "has become the third athlete to confirm a positive drugs test from the Jamaican trials in June." Randall, who competed at last year's London Games, but failed to make the final, "acknowledged receipt of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission's notification of her adverse finding for a banned diuretic denied knowingly taking a performance-enhancing substance" (REUTERS, 7/16).
AFL WARNING: In Sydney, Caroline Wilson reported the Australian Football League warned Essendon coach James Hird in late '11 "to not involve his players in a peptides program." Sources close to the joint investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the AFL into Essendon said that the AFL warning "came after senior league officials had learnt that Hird had been investigating the anti-doping status of certain peptides." Hird "faces a lengthy suspension from the game for his key role in instigating the experimental drug program that sees his players also facing suspension for potentially breaching World Anti-Doping Agency regulations" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/17). Also in Sydney, Ralph & Robinson reported Essendon's players "will not face ASADA sanction from its use of AOD-9604." The club’s confidence the players will escape penalty "stem from their knowledge that the anti-obesity drug was not banned in 2012." According to Essendon sources, the club "inquired to anti-doping body ASADA about its players taking the drug in early 2012 and was told it was not a prohibited substance" (HERALD SUN, 7/17). The AAP's Sam Lienert reported ASADA "gave the same advice to an AFL anti-doping official in March this year." An ASADA investigator told a briefing of Essendon players in May that "the prospect of successful prosecution of players who took the drug last year was very low" (AAP, 7/16).
CYCLING ALLEGATIONS: In Sydney, Rupert Guinness reported Australia's Orica-GreenEDGE Sports Dir Matt White said that the offer by the British Sky team of Tour de France leader Chris Froome to consider allowing WADA access to all its training data and rider information is ''a good move.'' White believes that Froome "should not be subjected to the suspicion he has, and offering WADA all Sky's training data for assessment is probably the only way it can stem the constant line of questioning and doubt over their performances" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/17). XINHUA reported 2013 Tour of Turkey winner Mustafa Sayar "tested positive for performance-enhancing drug EPO" (XINHUA, 7/16).