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To thwart doping controls, weightlifters sent look-alikes in their place

THE SPORT SCAN – Weightlifters are suspected of having asked people who look like them to go to doping controls in their place to provide a clean urine sample.

Eighteen weightlifters from six countries are suspected of having provided false urine samples with the complicity of “substitutes”, athletes resembling them, during doping controls, according to the provisional findings of an Agency investigation World Anti-Doping World (WADA) released Thursday. This survey, launched in 2017, used a new methodology based in particular on anonymous sources and expert analyzes.

It showed that some weightlifters have resorted to athletes looking like them, “surrogates posing as athletes during the sample collection process to ensure that clean urine is fraudulently provided” , says the Montreal-based agency. “This methodology has so far enabled investigators to identify, through analysis of DNA profiles, cases of suspected urine substitution involving 18 weightlifters from six countries,” said WADA in a statement presenting the first results of this investigation, which is continuing.

“These cases will be transmitted for results management to the International Testing Agency (ICA)”, to which the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has delegated the implementation of its anti-doping program, said WADA. The agency does not specify the identity of the athletes or their countries of origin.

A culture of doping in weightlifting

The president of the AMA, Witold Banka, said he was “appalled by the practices uncovered by his Intelligence and Investigations department as part of this investigation”, for which he calls for more means of investigation. “For too long, clean weightlifters have had to deal with a well-entrenched doping culture in their sport, where promoting fear helps hide the truth and isolate those who wanted to do the right thing,” Banka continues. , stressing the importance of “whistleblowers” and “well-informed confidential sources”.


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