Australian Olympic champion Sally Pearson said on Wednesday that she fears the Rio Games next year will be tainted by drugs, as she lashed out at doping cheats in the crisis-hit sport.
The champion hurdler, who will miss this month’s world championships in Beijing after wrist surgery, said she had no doubt some athletes in Rio will be doped.
“Unfortunately, it’s going to be there,” she told reporters at an event in Sydney marking the one-year countdown to the 2016 Olympics.
“I don’t know how confident I am about how clean it’s going to be in Rio. But as long as we can do everything we can to make it the cleanest Olympics we can, then that is a really good start.”
‘Extraordinary’ levels of doping
Pearson was speaking as the sport faced explosive new allegations of mass doping, with a database belonging to governing body the International Association of Athletics Federations leaked to German and British media.
It allegedly shows details of 12 000 blood tests from 5 000 competitors which revealed “extraordinary” levels of doping, although the IAAF dismissed it on Tuesday as “sensationalist and confusing”.
Pearson, who injured her left wrist when she tumbled during a Diamond League race in Rome in June, said she was disappointed at the latest scandal.
“I don’t understand how you can go out into a sporting arena and compete, knowing what you have taken, and be proud of that,” she said.
“But at the end of the day, it’s good that they are being caught as much as it’s disappointing that it still exists.”
Australian Olympic Committee chef de mission Kitty Chiller said at the same function that the nation had zero tolerance to drug cheats.
“If you dope, to be blunt, if you cheat, and you’re a member of the Australian Olympic team, we will name, shame and put you on a plane,” she said. – AFP