WADA Denies Suppressing Research Findings

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has denied suppressing research findings made by a biology professor at Oslo University, Kristian Gundersen, who claimed he was offered a research grant by the anti-doping agency but rejected it as their conditions were unacceptable and "illegal under Norwegian rules on academic freedom".

justin gatlin

Gundersen remarked the World Anti-Doping Agency wanted the right to amend his research data. The biology professor provided a copy of the contract to The Herald that appears to uphold his view. A spokesman for WADA defended the agency by saying WADA, under no circumstances, is suppressing research findings and added that the World Anti-Doping Agency do not interfere with the science of funded studies. WADA told The Herald that the reason for WADA retaining the right to read the research study prior to submission for publication is to ensure that the outcomes of the anti-doping research have not deviated in any way from the original purpose of the study.

Professor Gundersen said the explanation offered by the WADA spokesman is also inconsistent with the contract clause which clearly states WADA have the right to demand changes to the research reports and commented that either the spokesperson is misinformed, or he is lying.

The clause in the contract to which the biology professor took exception revealed that draft publications shall be submitted for review to WADA Science Department at least 30 days prior to submission for publication. It was also added that WADA shall reserve the right to comment and request reasonable modifications which shall be adopted by the Research Team. Professor Gundersen remarked he could not accept the contract because of a small print of the contract.

It is no surprise that WADA tried to block publication of research that the anti-doping agency commissioned itself. In a survey, more than 2000 track and field competitors were reviewed that guaranteed anonymity. It was disclosed by the survey that an estimated 45% of competitors at the 2011 Pan-Arab Games in Doha and 29% of competitors at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu said they had doped in the past year.

It was recently demonstrated by the research at Oslo University's department of Life Science that muscles boosted by anabolic agents retain a "memory" of the effects that allow the advantages to continue long after anabolic steroids are no longer being used. This research on mice, if replicated in humans, may explain the unprecedented performances of Justin Gatlin (the 2004 Olympic 100 meters champion) who ran the fastest time of his life at the age of 33, nine years after he failed to clear an anti-doping test for use of anabolic androgenic steroids.

In 2013, the New York Times carried the story under the heading: "Anti-doping Agency Delays Publication of Research." The story stated researchers were eager to publish their results to expose the reality of drug cheating that far more athletes are doping than might be imagined, and that current drug-testing protocols catch few of the cheats. However, a final draft of the study was submitted to WADA and it ultimately told the researchers they could not publish their findings at this time. The American newspaper cited three members of the research team who sought anonymity as they had signed confidentiality agreements.

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