Sergei Bubka: Zero-tolerance over dope cheats

Moscow: The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will keep its "zero tolerance" doping policy as it strives to shake off cheating allegations, vice president Sergei Bubka of the world athletics governing body said Wednesday.

"Our clear policy is zero tolerance for doping," Bubka told AFP at the inaugural gathering of the world's Olympic associations in Moscow. "We must defend the interests of honest and clean athletes." In August, German television television channel ARD and Britain's Sunday Times newspaper said they had been leaked a database belonging to the IAAF with details of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 competitors that revealed "extraordinary" levels of doping.

The scandal came to light ahead of the world championships in Beijing, during which only two positive cases were reported. The IAAF said at the time it "strongly rejects" the allegations and that it had been long been at the forefront of drug testing. The association pledged earlier this month to ensure more independence in its testing systems and said it was striving to introduce blood passports and new anti-doping measures.

"If someone is guilty, this will be proven and the athlete will be punished," said Bubka, the 51-year Ukrainian pole vaulting legend. One of the key points in the manifesto by IAAF president Sebastian Coe -- the British track and field star who was elected to head the body in August -- was his desire to establish an independent anti-doping agency, moving away from links with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

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