While the American media remains on its 24/7 fixation with the standoff between New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig over the punishment handed down for Rodriguez’s ties to the latest performance enhancing drugs scandal, crack downs on doping continue to grab big headlines in the rest of the world.
Some sport leaders, like Selig, have taken hard line, zero-tolerance stances on drugs in an effort to protect the integrity of sports. Here is the latest doping news roundup from around the world according to Karl-Heinz Huba of the Sport Intern:
GERMANY: German Olympic Sports Association (DOSB) President Thomas Bach commented on a report by researchers of the Berlin Humboldt University that revealed that West German athletes were systematically doped with their government’s backing from the 1970s, and possibly earlier.
“We wanted to have clarification about the doping history in Germany,” said Bach, who is credited with initiating the study. “Finding out about our heritage is essential for our zero-tolerance policy against doping. A lot of this information is not new and was already published before by other scientists. We look forward to receiving the final report of the research and will take the necessary consequences after a careful study. In order to ensure full transparency we would welcome the publication of this final report.”
Titled “Doping in Germany From 1950 to Today,” the 800-page report discloses that West German politicians were promoting drug use among athletes to ensure international success. Completed in April, the report has yet to be published because of privacy concerns and legal issues over naming athletes, doctors and politicians.
MADRID: “We are only interested in clean medals,” said Madrid 2020 bid chief Alejandro Blanco, who is also the president of the Spanish National Olympic Committee. He emphasized Spain’s firm commitment to clean and honest sport during the recent Marca/Spanish Olympic Committee Forum, held under the slogan, “Companies for Clean Sport.” The forum is drawing attention to the considerable efforts being made by a number of organizations and companies to protect the image of Spain’s athletes, and to support elite sporting events.
Blanco added: “It is up to civil society to drive the country forward, while it is governments that make the laws and companies that sponsor elite sport,” he said. “We have companies here who, in supporting clean sport, are not looking for a financial return but a social one. Words cannot express how grateful we are for their support and the values they are projecting. That is another reason why we can say the Madrid 2020 Bid is founded on values.”
SYDNEY: The Australian Crime Commission’s (ACC) explosive report into doping and the integrity of sport done earlier this year is expected to be followed up with further major revelations.
“The darkest day in Australian sport could be revisited in less than two years’ time,” says The Sydney Morning Herald, referring to the Feb. 7 report which stated: “The ACC completes a further assessment of the threat posed by PIEDs [performance and image enhancing drugs] to the sports sector in Australian by 2015.”
Under the heading “Current status of work on government recommendation,” the report also said: “The Australian Crime Commission maintains a watching brief of the Australian drugs market in its High Risk and Emerging Drugs Special Operation. Along with annual production of the Illicit Drug Data Report, the ACC will develop a further assessment of the threat posed by PIEDs to the sports sector by June 2015 subject to priority decisions made by the ACC board.” Click here to read more.
TURKEY: Turkey’s National Olympic Committee President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Ugur Erdemer commented on the suspension recently of 31 Turkish athletes for drug violations and emphasized the country’s “zero-tolerance for doping and our intention to have clean, young athletes competing on the international sporting stage in the future.”
The Turkish Athletics Federation (TAF) doled out two-year suspensions to the group of 31 athletes, which included at least three who competed at the 2012 London Olympics. Among them were Esref Apak, the silver medalist in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in the hammer throw.
The Turkish anti-doping authority (TADA) conducted the tests, including some in conjunction with the IAAF and WADA. The work is part of a concerted and much more aggressive anti-doping policy in Turkey over the last six months. The strict enforcement will continue with the WADA anti-doping laboratory in Ankara facing reaccreditation later this year.
“I look forward to working closely with the new incoming chairman of Turkish athletics who I will expect to aggressively seek out and expel all athletes who cheat using performance-enhancing drugs,” Erdemer said. “This will be supported by an intensive education program aimed at athletes and their entourages and students in schools and colleges across Turkey.”
Last week, TAF chairman Mehmet Terzi resigned from the post he had held for nine years in the face of the doping allegations.