MONTREAL -- The World Anti-Doping Agency has begun investigating allegations by German broadcaster ARD and The Sunday Times newspaper in Britain that one-third of medals in endurance races at Olympics and world championships were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious blood readings.
The media reports earlier this month analyzed the results of 12,000 blood tests involving 5,000 athletes from 2001 to 2012 -- leaked from an International Association of Athletics Federations database -- and concluded that 800 were suspicious. The IAAF responded with a detailed denunciation of the reports and strongly rejected suggestions that it had failed to follow up on the suspicious tests.
WADA said in a statement Friday that an independent commission has already started work on investigating the claims and will be supported by WADA staff "familiar with analytical results, testing and the Athlete Biological Passport."
But WADA stressed "that no test data derived from the IAAF database prior to the adoption of the ABP in 2009 can be considered to be proof of doping. It would be reckless, if not libelous, to make such an allegation.
"The reported values may be suspicious and lead to targeted testing of the athletes involved, but nothing more could be done with the information."
WADA said the independent commission's work would include obtaining a copy of the leaked database and a copy of the report prepared by two Australian scientists who analyzed the leaked test results.
Among other aims, it would also look to "identify suspicious test results that should have led to targeted testing ... [and] verify the actions of IAAF in dealing with such suspicious test results."