Athletics chief laughs off medal reallocation talk amid dope storm

Frank Dalleres
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WORLD athletics chief Lamine Diack has described suggestions that Olympic and World Championship medals should be redistributed following fresh doping claims as “a farce” and “a joke”.

The 82-year-old, who is stepping down as IAAF president this month and could be succeeded by Britain’s Lord Coe, also stressed that irregular blood test results were not evidence of drug use.

It comes after leaked data from 5,000 athletes, published by the Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD/WDR, indicated that as many as a third of Olympic and World medallists from 2001 to 2012 may have doped.

“There is a film and a newspaper who are asking questions. We are going to answer them all,” Diack said yesterday. “But it [doesn’t mean] just because someone has a suspicious profile once that he was doped. When people say that there are medals to be redistributed from 2001 to 2012, it’s just a farce.

“They are playing with the idea of a redistribution of medals. It’s possible, if we prove with the new techniques at our disposal that someone doped. Otherwise, it’s a joke.”

Diack also questioned the timing of the claims, just three weeks before the World Championships in Beijing start on 22 August.

Coe, a current IAAF vice-president, and Ukrainian former pole vaulter Sergei Bubka are the two candidates standing for election on 19 August.

The former track great, who led London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympics and then headed the Games’ organising committee, said on Sunday that he expected the IAAF to produce a “robust and detailed” response to the allegations.