The study, conducted by researchers from
Germany's University of Tuebingen and Harvard Medical School in
2011, found that more than 30 percent of world championship
participants and over 45 percent of athletes at the 2011
Pan-Arab Games said they had taken banned drugs.
The researchers asked a total of 2,167 athletes whether they had
used banned substances. A combined total of 5,187 athletes
competed at those two events.
The 2011 world athletics championships were held in Daegu, South
Korea while Qatar hosted the Pan-Arab Games that year.
A process of indirect questioning was used for the study titled
"Doping in Two Elite Athletics Competitions Assessed by
Randomized-Response Surveys" in order to guard the athletes'
More than 90 percent of athletes asked to take part agreed to do
Only 0.5 percent of drugs tests in Daegu were positive, while
the figure was 3.6 percent at the Pan-Arab Games.
"The study shows that biological tests of blood and urine reveal
only a fraction of doping cases," said Harrison Pope, Harvard
Medical School professor.
"As described in the publication this is likely due to the fact
that athletes have found numerous ways so as not to be caught
The study's release had been delayed for years as the
researchers wrangled with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
and the international association of athletics federations
(IAAF) over how it was to be published, researchers said.
It has now been published in Sports Medicine magazine. WADA
could not be immediately reached for comment.
Athletics is desperate to improve its tarnished image after a
doping scandal led to the banning of Russia's track and field
team from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
More than 100 athletes have been found to have used drugs at the
Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics during re-tests conducted
last year by the International Olympic Committee.
(Editing by Andrew Roche)
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