Thursday 22 March 2018

'Ireland has zero tolerance policy to doping'

Sports Minister Michael Ring: ‘Cheats must be weeded out’
Sports Minister Michael Ring: ‘Cheats must be weeded out’
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Athletics Ireland insists that it has a "zero-tolerance policy" towards doping following allegations of widespread drug abuse in the sport.

A British newspaper claimed the "biggest leak of blood-test data in sporting history" as it reported that one-third of Olympic and World Championship medals were awarded to athletes who provided suspicious blood samples.

It said this was based on test results analysed over more than a decade, up to and including the London Games in 2012.

According to a league table of offenders, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey were among the "dirtiest countries", while Ireland, Canada and Serbia were at the other end of the scale.

John Foley, CEO of Athletics Ireland, insisted that Ireland was at the forefront of testing athletes.

He said: "We stand confidently over the drug-testing programme administered by the ISC, which sees athletics as the most tested sport in Ireland."

Sports Minister Michael Ring said cheats in sport must be "weeded out" to uphold the integrity of the sport.

"It sends the worst possible message to our young people, it (doping) attains glory under false pretences and means that spectator cannot trust the performances they so much enjoy,"

"The leaking of this data has done a great service to the world of sport, lifting the lid on what is a dishonest and under-handed practice."

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) said it was "very alarmed" by the latest claims, which would "shake the foundation" of clean athletics across the globe.

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie admitted the organisation "is very disturbed" by some of the allegations put forward.

The data will be handed over immediately to the organisation's independent commission for further investigation.

Irish Independent

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