The IAAF was pleased to receive this morning a message of support in its ongoing battle against doping in athletics from one of the pioneers of the anti-doping movement, Professor Arne Ljungqvist.
Professor Ljungqvist, former Chairman of the IOC Medical Commission (2003-2014) and former Vice President of WADA (2008-2013) said: “The IAAF has historically been at the forefront of all important developments in the fight against doping and has always taken its responsibilities seriously when it comes to catching cheats and protecting the integrity of its sport.”
“The IAAF has been involved in all major developments of the fight against doping, including the introduction of the first blood tests for anti-doping purposes back in the early 1990s. The IAAF did pioneer investigations more than 20 years ago when blood sampling for anti-doping purposes was judged to be impossible on a global basis for ethical and religious reasons. The study clarified that this was not the case, and was published in Int. J. Sports Med. 1997.
“The IAAF’s contribution to the development of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) was absolutely key and it has, since then, undeniably played a leading role in this field, together with the UCI.”
Professor Arne Ljungqvist continued: “The IAAF did more than others, before the others, but is now criticized by people, who have no insight into the work of IAAF, for not having done enough.
“Regrettably, I did not hear any criticism against the many sports and anti-doping organisations who have never implemented a robust blood testing programme as part of their anti-doping programme.
”This is highly unfair to the IAAF, an institution which should be regarded in high esteem for its countless efforts and investment, throughout its history, to tackle doping in athletics in the most efficient and intelligent way,” concluded Professor Ljungqvist.
The IAAF would also like to take this opportunity to underline its commitment to clean athletes and its abhorrence at doping in sport.
– The IAAF does not claim to be perfect, but we strongly believe that historically, and today, the IAAF has developed the most robust anti-doping programme in sport.
– We want to catch the cheats, and have a history of punishing high-profile athletes like Marion Jones even where it hurts the reputation and revenues of the sport, but we must have legally sound evidence of wrong-doing.
– We work within the structure of the WADA Code. We have the support of WADA and co-operate fully with them. We always want to do more to protect clean athletes and catch cheats, and are currently doing everything that our resources allow.
– We have pushed successfully for four-year bans.
– Private information on blood sampling has been taken out of context recently and we will continue to fight for the principle of confidentiality in this specific area. As WADA also has stated, any judgement on blood sample must be based on the analysis of three appointed experts. We cannot accept 'Trial by Media' based on 'rogue samples and' analysis which is taken out of context.
– The blood passport is simply another tool to identify suspicious values to help build cases, prioritise testing and drive anti-doping policy. We have been actively using it to do all of these things. We were one of the first federations to use the Athlete Biological Passport and are using it to fuller effect than any other sport.
– We have been concerned about potential blood-doping for some time and went so far as to publish an academic paper to that effect in 2011; and we have built up records of blood data to help us beat the cheats.
– We support the work of WADA to encourage governments to implement code-compliant testing regimes. We have brought our concerns about certain countries to WADA.
– One of the key ways we can beat cheats is through education and intelligence. If anyone has information: whether they be an athlete, official or journalist, they should bring it to the IAAF and WADA.
BIOGRAPHY: Professor Arne Ljungqvist
Chairman, Medical Commission: 2003-2014
Member Of Honour: 2014 to date
Member, Medical Commission: 1987-2002
Vice President: 2008-2013
Member: Foundation Board And Executive Committee: 2003-2013
Board member: 1999-2013
Chairman, Health, Medical And Research Committee: 1999-2014
Honorary Life Vice President: 2007 to date
Senior Vice President: 1999-2007
Vice President: 1981-1999
Council Member: 1976-1981
Chairman, Medical Committee And Anti-Doping Commission: 1972-2004