IOC prez Bach vows 'zero tolerance' towards dope cheats

Kuala Lumpur: IOC president Thomas Bach yesterday vowed "zero tolerance" for any Olympics athletics results tainted by doping, but the head of world athletics said new revelations were part of a campaign to "redistribute" medals.

Thomas Bach. Pic/Getty Images
Thomas Bach. Pic/Getty Images 

Allegations of mass doping made by German broadcaster ARD and the Sunday Times newspaper of Britain have plunged athletics into a new cheating crisis less than three weeks before the world championships start in Beijing.

ARD and the Sunday Times obtained an athletics world body database that they said indicated up to one third of medals involving endurance events at world championships and Olympics from 2001 to 2012 were won by competitors who have given suspicious doping tests.

"If there should be cases involving results at Olympic Games, the IOC will act with zero tolerance with our usual policy," Bach told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur. "But at this time we have nothing more than allegations and we have to respect the presumption of innocence for the athletes."

Malicious intent
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack told an IOC meeting that the world body would answer the allegations.

"Behind all this there is a desire to redistribute medals, take care of this," Diack, who will stand down as IAAF president this month, warned IOC members. It is the second time in seven months that the IAAF has been thrown onto the defensive by doping.

An ARD documentary in December claimed there was widespread doping in Russian athletics. Both sets of allegations are being investigated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which said it was "very alarmed".

ARD and the Sunday Times newspaper said a "whistleblower" had handed over the IAAF database giving details of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 competitors which revealed "extraordinary" levels of doping.

Russian and Kenyan athletes feature strongly in the new claims. A large number of the "abnormal" results were from Russian athletes, said the reports. But Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko called the new allegations "nonsense" that were part of a power struggle within IAAF before its election for a new president this month.

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