23 athletes from 2012 Games fail drug retests

LAUSANNE (Switzerland) • Twenty-three athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games, from five different sports and of six different nationalities, tested positive for banned drugs after samples were reanalysed, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced yesterday.

The results, taken from 265 selected doping samples and focused on athletes who could potentially take part at August's Rio Games in Brazil, were all based on intelligence gathering that began in August last year.

The IOC said that the reanalysis programme is ongoing, with the possibility of more results in the weeks to come.

All the athletes, national Olympic committees and international federations concerned are already being informed, after which the proceedings against the athletes would begin.

Any competitor found to have broken the anti-doping rules will be barred from competing at Rio.

"These reanalyses show, once again, our determination in the fight against doping," said the IOC president Thomas Bach.

"We want to keep the dopers away from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This is why we are acting swiftly now.

"I have already appointed a disciplinary commission, which has the full power to take all the decisions on behalf of the IOC."

The news comes days after the Russian state media revealed that 14 of the 31 athletes found to have doped at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing were from their country.

The IOC had announced that the 31 tested positive for banned substances after 454 retrospective urine samples from the Beijing Games were examined.

The Olympic body targeted athletes who were due to compete in Rio, using more advanced testing techniques than were available in 2008.

Speaking before the last Games in March 2012, the scientist in charge of drug testing at the London Olympics claimed that Britain's reputation for catching dopers would deter potential cheats.

"If we end up with more than even half a per cent I will be surprised, and I hope it is much fewer than that," said Professor David Cowan of King's College London. "Less than 50 athletes and I think that estimate will be on the high side."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2016, with the headline '23 athletes from 2012 Games fail drug retests'. Print Edition | Subscribe