Seven London Marathon winners in 12 years have recorded blood level results which suggested they may have been doping, the Sunday Times newspaper reported in the latest set of allegations to have rocked athletics.
It reported that 32 winners of major city marathons — London, Boston, Chicago, New York, Berlin and Tokyo — should have faced investigation over potential blood doping following test results — a quarter of the overall total.
The newspaper did not provide dates for when its statistics allegedly apply or identify the athletes involved.
London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel said in a statement on Sunday that organisers were 'very concerned' by the allegations and said the race had a 'zero tolerance policy' on doping. "We believe there are people in our sport who are cheating and everyone has a part to play to protect those who are not," he said.
"We continue to be at the forefront of anti-doping measures for marathon runners as we are determined to make marathon running a safe haven from doping but we cannot do it all on our own and rely heavily on the IAAF."
In a separate development Britain’s Mo Farah — who won Olympic gold medals in 2012 for the 5,000m and 10,000m — is one of eight athletes who have agreed to release their own blood test data, the newspaper reported. His coach Alberto Salazar has faced doping allegations but both he and Farah deny any wrongdoing.
London blames IAAF
The Sunday Times newspaper reported that almost 30 per cent of winners in the 24 men’s and women’s London races are suspected of cheating. It also said that one in four winners of the six biggest city marathons around the world 'had given blood tests that suggest they may have doped to improve their performance over time.'
The suspected athletes were not named.
According to The Sunday Times, the winners of 34 big marathons across the world, who collected more than 3 million pounds ($4.65 million) in prize money, registered suspicious results suggesting potential blood doping.
"We continue to be at the forefront of anti-doping measures for marathon runners as we are determined to make marathon running a safe haven from doping but we cannot do it all on our own and rely heavily on the IAAF," Bitel said.