- 6 Aug 08, 03:45 AM
Professor Arne Ljunqvist is a scientist whose entire inclination is to deal in facts.
He's not a man prone to exaggeration or hysteria.
So when the Chairman of the IOC's Medical Commission, and Vice President of Wada calls the suspension of seven Russian women athletes a case of, "systematic planned cheating," we need to take notice.
I know the women concerned haven't faced their disciplinary hearings yet, and are protesting their innocence, but let's just think about this again.
The IAAF are convinced they were tipped off and knew the testers were coming to carry out these out of competition tests.
I know the IAAF are sure it wasn't someone inside their own organisation, so let's assume they're right.
Who else could be party to that information? The office issuing the visas to the testers? Someone at the Russian Athletics Federation?
Surely it's a narrow field of suspicion.
That begs the question, what should be done?
The Balco scandal was one of lies and deceit among a relatively small number of people.
The implications of this case could include collusion, systematic fraud, a complete betrayal of trust.
The method of cheating apparently used by the women is a crude old favourite.
Think back to the cases of Katrin Krabbe, Grit Breuer and Silke Moeller in 1992.
All three were found to have given identical urine samples at a training camp in South Africa, although they were later cleared on a technicality...(Krabbe and Breuer were caught out later, and were banned for a year.)
For urine replacement to be effective, the contents of the individual's bladder have to be emptied, then replaced with "clean" urine from a third party, and the sample given promptly.
In other words, it requires prior warning.
The IAAF seem to have little choice other than to carry out a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding this case.
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