IOC president: 'Dozens' of athletes likely to get Rio ban

The International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that "dozens" of athletes could be banned from the forthcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after new tests on samples from previous Games.

Thomas Bach said that the IOC will apply a policy of "zero tolerance".   -  AP

The International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that "dozens" of athletes could be banned from the forthcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after new tests on samples from previous Games.

The IOC has decided to re-examine samples from the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the London games in 2012 "using the most recent scientific methods", Bach said in an opinion piece in the Le Monde daily.

"This decisive action will probably prevent dozens of athletes who have doped from competing in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016," added Bach.

The re-examination is part of widespread measures taken by sporting bodies after a wave of new doping scandals to hit international sport with Russia at the centre.

ALSO READ: >31 athletes caught

The IOC will apply a policy of "zero tolerance", Bach told Le Monde.

The committee had said on Tuesday that up to 31 athletes from 12 countries could face bans from the Rio event after new tests from the 2008 Games in Beijing.

These athletes were caught in new tests on 454 Beijing samples. Around 4,000 tests were carried out in total during those games, meaning the number of retroactive failures could well increase.

In addition, results from 250 retests on samples taken at the 2012 London Games are due "shortly", according to the IOC. Those tests were also aimed at athletes planning to compete in Rio.

Beijing Olympic samples: 31 caught in retests

In a major doping crackdown stretching back eight years, 31 athletes in six sports could be barred from competing in this year’s Olympics after they were caught in retesting of drug samples from the 2008 Beijing Games, and other positive cases could emerge from the 2012 London Games.

 

The IOC opened disciplinary proceedings on Tuesday against the 31 unidentified athletes from 12 countries, who competed in Beijing, and were planning to take part in the Rio de Janeiro Games in August.

“This is a powerful strike against the cheats,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. “They show once again that dopers have no place to hide.”

The IOC said it also planned to reanalyze drug tests from the 2014 Sochi Winter Games after allegations samples were tampered with as part of a state-sponsored Russian doping program.

The allegations against the Sochi laboratory are “very detailed and therefore very worrying”, Bach said.

“If the inquiry confirms that the allegations are true, this would be a shocking new scale of doping, with an unprecedented level of criminal activity,” added Bach.

The positive cases from Beijing emerged from the recent retesting of 454 doping samples with “the very latest scientific analysis methods”, the IOC said.

The Olympic body stores samples for 10 years to allow for retesting with improved techniques, with athletes caught facing retroactive disqualification and loss of any medals.

The IOC said it could not immediately identify the athletes caught in the Beijing retests for legal reasons, saying it would inform the relevant national Olympic committees in the coming days.

“All those athletes infringing anti-doping rules will be banned from competing at the Olympic Games” in Rio, the IOC said after a teleconference meeting of its policy-making executive board.

The IOC said it would also undertake a “wider retesting program” of medallists from both the Beijing and London Games.

Samples of athletes, who could be promoted to medals following disqualification of drug cheats, will also be retested.

The IOC also asked the World Anti-Doping Agency to launch a “fully-fledged investigation” into allegations that the drug-testing system in Sochi was subverted by Russian officials.

 

The IOC said it would ask the Lausanne anti-doping lab and WADA to proceed with analyzing Sochi samples “in the most sophisticated and efficient way possible”.

WADA vows to probe latest Russia claims

The WADA vowed on Tuesday to fully investigate allegations against Russia of a vast state-run doping program during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

WADA said it would hold a thorough probe into claims made by CBS television’s 60 Minutes and the New York Times earlier this month alleging widespread doping.

“WADA is fully committed to investigating these additional allegations that were exposed by 60 Minutes and The New York Times; and, to publicly reporting its findings,” WADA President Craig Reedie said.

“WADA has tackled this investigative work as a matter of priority for clean sport,” he added.

The New York Timeslast week published allegations from Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory in Sochi, asserting that dozens of Russian athletes, including at least 15 medalists, were involved in the drugs scandal.

Rodchenkov revealed an elaborate scheme in which up to 100 tainted urine samples were replaced with clean ones collected months before. The Kremlin has dismissed the allegations as “slander by defector”.

Reedie told the New York Times and 60 Minutes that allegations would be investigated by a panel headed by Mathieu Holz, a former Interpol Agent. Holz plans to meet with Russian whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov and Rodchenkov as part of the investigation, WADA said.

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