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Bernard Lagat's Team Calls for Simplification of EPO Test,
Releases Report Explaining His Positive A Sample and Negative
Attachments: Summary Comments from Dr Hans Heid, Bernard Lagat’s scientific expert.
With global interest in the recent case of Kenyan middle distance runner
Bernard Lagat, we are distributing the Summary Comments written by the eminent
scientist Dr Hans Heid of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg
Germany, after Bernard was cleared of providing a positive doping control.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT:-
1) REPORT FULLY EXONERATES BERNARD LAGAT - the summary notes that the urine of Mr. Bernard Lagat did not contain any recombinant erythropoietin (rhEpo) and therefore he had not committed Epo-doping;
2) REPORT STATES THAT THE COMPLEXITY OF THE TEST, COMBINED WITH TRANSPORTATION AND HANDLING SHORTFALLS, COULD HAVE LED TO THE INITIAL ERRONEOUS ANALYSIS THAT BERNARD’S A-SAMPLE WAS POSITIVE;
3) REPORT NOTES THE EPO TEST IS TOO LENGTHY, HAS PROBLEMS AND SHOULD BE
SIMPLIFIED AND IMPROVED MARKEDLY – The summary notes these various issues and
problems, suggests ways to improve the test. It refers to and agrees with
internal WADA documents which themselves encourage development of new EPO tests.
REACTION TO THE REPORT: BERNARD LAGAT CALLS AGAIN FOR CURRENT EPO TEST TO BE HALTED UNTIL REVISIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS ARE MADE.
“The report confirms and reinforces what I have always maintained, I have never taken any illegal nor legal performance-enhancing drug,” commented Bernard Lagat on Monday.
“But it goes much further and shows that the present testing for EPO is fundamentally flawed. I repeat my call for the IAAF and WADA to suspend all EPO testing right now, until revisions are made and a credible test can be developed. WADA or other anti-doping agencies should certify a reliable test which does not risk the future of an innocent athlete.
“I have always been in favour of eliminating drug taking from athletics and strongly endorse drug testing but it must be fair and reliable, and seen to be fair and reliable. I don’t believe that is the case with testing for EPO at the moment,” added Bernard.
To recap briefly, Bernard has been the second-ranked 1,500 metres runner in the world since 2001 but on August 22, the eve of the 2003 World Championships, he was informed that he had provided a positive test for the banned substance EPO.
Bernard was immediately suspended from competition by the IAAF but on October 1 was cleared of having taken EPO or any other illegal drugs, following further testing of the urine sample he had provided in an out-of-competition test on August 8.
“I wouldn’t want any fellow athlete to suffer the way I did during those five weeks. The experience was the reverse of natural justice. I appeared to be guilty until I was proven innocent,” said Bernard.
Dr Heid’s summary report states quite clearly that there are serious procedural issues, with many potential pitfalls in the way the testing for EPO is presently conducted.
The report is also critical of the scientific basis upon which the test has been constructed, with particular note to the lack of consideration given to the possible influences of different nutritional, ethnic or physiological backgrounds.
Dr Heid’s report was completed in October but its distribution was delayed until now while we absorbed its implications.
We are currently in discussions with the IAAF about the issue of financial compensation, which I hope can be mutually resolved, as Bernard lost the opportunity to pursue his profession at a crucial moment in his career.
Both Bernard and I are also concerned about details of the IAAF announcement on October 1, which confirmed that Bernard was free to compete again.
We believe that this announcement was neither fully accurate, nor did it state clearly that Bernard had been exonerated, and are looking to the IAAF to make an unequivocal declaration that there were no traces of performance enhancing drugs found in either of Bernard’s samples.
(To download the summary report on Lagat's EPO test by Dr. Heid
Full EPO Report by Dr. Heid:
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