Athletics: IAAF attacks 'naive' doping experts

Paris (AFP) - World athletics' ruling body the IAAF on Saturday condemned as 'naive' the two blood experts at the centre of mass doping allegations.

Australian scientists Michael Ashenden and Robin Parisotto have claimed hundreds of athletes had returned "suspicious" doping test results.

Their allegation was based on the examination of a leaked database provided to them by Britain's Sunday Times newspaper and German broadcaster ARD containing more than 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes between 2001 and 2012.

This week the IAAF robustly denied any negligence in its testing procedure in an affair that has marred the build-up to this month's world championships in Beijing.

And in their latest defence world athletics' rulers accused Ashenden and Parisotto of arriving at "seriously incorrect assertions".

"Of most concern to us is that the two scientists continue to defend their statements that the IAAF did nothing to act on "suspicious profiles".

"And that the scientists also continue to believe that they were in a position to make this analysis based on their background and involvement in a number of Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) cases related to the sport of athletics," the IAAF contended.

According to the IAAF, Ashenden and Parisotto "also conveniently ignore the fact that more than 60 athletes have been sanctioned on the basis of abnormal blood values collected after 2009."

And the organisation added: "The two scientists were not, and still are not, in a position to know which cases have been sent to the independent panel for review, nor to know which cases are currently under review or under appeal.

"More importantly, they do not have access to the IAAF testing records and are therefore not able to know whether proper testing follow-up was conducted by the IAAF.

"On this basis, how can these experts claim that no action was taken by the IAAF without checking which athletes were sanctioned, and without any possible access to the IAAF's extensive out-of-competition targeted testing information?"

The IAAF "condemn the fact that two experienced scientists were naive enough to place themselves in a situation where their analysis of incomplete data is being used against athletes in the public domain."

- 'IAAF criticised unfairly' -

It called for the two men to supply the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) with any evidence they have of doping.

"If they do not have evidence, then we urge that they refrain from making assertions of wrong-doing."

Later, Arne Ljungqvist, a former kingpin in the Olympic's fight against doping cheats, gave his full support to the IAAF's efforts to root out dopers.

"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,? said Ljungqvist.

"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," added the chairman of the IOC's medical commission between 2003-2014.

Saturday's latest interventions in the debate follows Friday's WADA announcement of "an urgent" probe into suggestions of widespread cheating.

This week, IAAF presidential candidate Sebastien Coe called the allegations "a declaration of war" on the sport.

Both Russia and Kenya, singled out in the ARD documentary for a particularly poor record, have also questioned the allegations of cheating in athletics.