KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia
The World Anti-Doping Agency is alarmed by "wild allegations"` made by two European media outlets of widespread suspicious drug tests in track and field, and is asking an independent body to investigate.
WADA president Craig Reedie said Sunday he was surprised by the scale of the allegations, including that one-third of medals in endurance races at the Olympics and world championships over a 10-year period were won by athletes who recorded suspicious doping tests.
German broadcaster ARD and The Sunday Times newspaper in Britain said they obtained access to the results of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes. The files came from the database of the International Association of Athletics Federations and were leaked by a whistleblower, according to the reports.
The IAAF and WADA are already investigating accusations made in two previous ARD documentaries that alleged systematic doping and cover-ups in Russia.
Reedie said he had read the transcript of the new ARD program and The Sunday Times articles. He said the material would be turned over immediately to WADA's independent commission for investigation.
"We are concerned at these allegations and we will refer them promptly to the independent commission which is working its way through the original two programs," Reedie said in Kuala Lumpur, where he is attending IOC meetings. "These are wild allegations, wide allegations, and we'll have to check them out and we'll have done that by the commission as quickly as possible."
Reedie stressed the allegations were unproven and athletes are assumed innocent until found guilty.
"It is wrong just to make any kind of assumption on allegations in the media," he said.
The ARD program, called "Doping Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics," was broadcast three weeks before the world championships in Beijing, which run from Aug. 22-30.
In a separate statement issued by WADA, Reedie said the new allegations "will, once again, shake the foundation of clean athletes worldwide."
ARD and The Sunday Times asked Australian anti-doping specialists Robin Parisotto and Michael Ashenden to review the blood testing results from the period from 2001 to 2012.
They reported that 800 athletes, competing in disciplines ranging from the 800 meters to the marathon, registered blood values which are considered suspicious under WADA standards.
The report found that 146 medals, including 55 golds, in those disciplines at the Olympics and world championships were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests. None of the athletes have been stripped of those medals, according to the report.
"Never have I seen such an alarmingly abnormal set of blood values," Parisotto said. "So many athletes appear to have doped with impunity."
No athletes were identified, and the evidence is not proof of doping.
The reports also alleged that more than 80 of Russia's medals were won by athletes with suspicious tests, while Kenya had 18 medals won by suspicious athletes. ARD said it evidence of human growth hormone being used by Russian runners.
IAAF general secretary Essar Gabriel said the federation was waiting for the transcript of the German program, which was broadcast Saturday night.
In a statement provided to ARD and The Sunday Times, the IAAF defended its drug-testing procedures.
"Any other approach, in particular the use of data collected over a longer period for different purposes, with different objectives and with different methods of analysis, is nothing more than speculation," the IAAF said.
A commission headed by former WADA president Dick Pound has been investigating the original ARD allegations. Reedie said the new allegations could push back the time frame for the completion of the probe.
"I was hoping to have a report maybe around September," he said. "My guess is to look into this will take a little bit longer. But I'd rather they looked into and got the answers and got it right."
The International Olympic Committee said it was aware of the new allegations.
"We have confidence in WADA to make sure they have a full and proper inquiry," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.