Estonian anti-doping expert: next big scandal will be in swimming

Swimming
8/4/2015 2:09 PM
Category: Sports

Kristjan Port, board member of the Estonian Anti-Doping Agency, said the next global doping scandal could erupt in swimming, after skiing, cycling and athletics.

Port said swimming is an endurance field and there have been many hints the sport is next in line to suffer a doping scandal.

Last week, the German television channel ARD said that from 2001-2012, around 800 blood tests by IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) have been abnormal. Port said the tests point to foul play, adding that scandals are damaging to all, including the cash flow. “Large organizations such as IAAF are often corrupt, as shown by the scandals in the world football federation,” he said.

He said athletics could suffer the same fate as cycling. “This year's Tour de France showed that if someone is better than others, that person will be under suspicion. Athletics is only beginning to feel that pain. Athletes are now looked at differently,” he said.

The most high-profile doping case has surrounded a former cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was found guilty of using banned substances and eventually admitted to doping. He had won seven Tour de France titles, the sport's most prestigious competition.

Estonia has also seen its fair share of doping scandals – mostly in skiing, with both of Estonia's recent skiing stars Kristiina Šmigun and Andres Veerpalu named in cases.

Šmigun, now Šmigun-Vähi, was under suspicion by international skiing authorities, although she has denied taking performance enhancing drugs, and no actual proof has surfaced. Veerpalu was found guilty of doping, but was later cleared in courts. Experts said it was a clear case of doping, but he was cleared due to procedural flaws.

In 2014, a doctor in Tartu claimed he supplied many Estonian athletes with performance enhancing drugs. A report on the case was largely inconclusive.

J.M. Laats

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