Anti-Doping Agency Report: No Proof Doctor Supplied Performance Enhancers to Star Athletes
An investigation into a statement by Tartu doctor Vitali Bernatski, in which he said he supplied banned substances to many top Estonian athletes, could not confirm or deny the accusations.
Head of an Anti-Doping Agency commission tasked with the investigation, Kristjan Port, said the investigation found no proof of doping, but did find that Estonian legislation on doping should be updated and improved.
Neinar Seli, the head of the Estonian Olympic Committee, said they will talk to the justice and social affairs ministries to tighten up legislation and make punishments harsher.
Seli said the Bernatski case shows the blame falls on athletes, but they usually have a team of experts who help them obtain and use banned substances. New rules by WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, which will enter force on January 1, 2015, will focus more on support teams.
Bernatski said in December that a number of athletes, including some well-known names, used his services to obtain and take banned substance EPO between 1995 and 2007.
Critics of the claims said no Estonian athletes competed in the fields in which EPO helps during the period and Bernatski was only out to blackmail a former athlete who he said owed him money.
Few names were revealed, but fingers pointed towards cross-country skier Raul Olle, who admitted to transferring 10,500 kroons (670 euros) to Bernatski in 2002. Olle told the media after the scandal broke that he does not recall the reason for the transfer. Olle won the 90-kilometer Vasaloppet in 2000 and finished in the top 20 twice at the Olympics.