Michael Ashenden has praised WADA following their criticism of his investigation on the leaked blood samples ©Getty Images

Michael Ashenden and Robin Parisotto, the scientists who claimed the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had failed to act upon suspicious blood samples, have each accepted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission's dismissal of their conclusions.

The two figures had worked with German television station ARD and the Sunday Times in London to study a leaked database belonging to the IAAF containing more than 12,000 blood tests from around 5,000 athletes in the years 2001 to 2012.

They claimed that more than 800 athletes, including many from Russia and Kenya, had given blood samples that were "highly suggestive" of doping or "abnormal", according to the two scientific experts asked for an analysis.

These should have been followed up by the world governing body but were not, they claimed.

The IAAF challenged “a number of seriously incorrect assertions” it claimed were made by the two scientists in reaching this verdict, condemning them for placing athletes under media pressure through their “analysis of incomplete data". 

This defence was supported by the WADA Independent Commission when they unveiled the second part of their report on doping here yesterday.

Commission chair Richard Pound ruled the data as "incomplete", adding that it "could not" have been used to make prosecutions for doping prior to 2009. 

Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe was the only athlete named publicly to have been on the list, having repeatedly denied any wrongdoing ©Getty Images
Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe was the only athlete named publicly to have been on the list, having repeatedly denied any wrongdoing ©Getty Images

Both scientists have accepted this verdict in separate statements published by the Sunday Times today, adding that there are encouraging aspects in the WADA report.

Both concluded by tentatively endorsing IAAF President Sebastian Coe, who had been fiercely criticised for dismissing the reports in the summer as a "declaration of war" on his sport.

"With the caveat that the IAAF adopt each and every IC recommendation, especially that they provide any necessary support for the relocation and employment of [Russian whistleblowers] Vitaly Stepanov and Yulia Stepanova, then I am willing to join Dick Pound in crossing my fingers in hope that Lord Coe will deliver on his promise," concludes Ashenden.

The Australian did add, however, that "desperate times call for desperate measures", and that pursuing cases on weaker evidence was required due to the deep-rooted nature of the problems.

"I accept that the IAAF would have faced a very difficult path if they ran cases before 2009," he concedes.

"However, I respectfully suggest that if USADA's [United States Anti Doping Agency] decision whether to pursue Lance Armstrong was equally timid in the face of 'likelihood of success, the effects of losing an appeal and the costs of litigation', Armstrong would still be a seven-times Tour de France champion."

Parisotto also claims that he "was slightly dumbfounded that no comments had been made with respect to the real health risks posed by some of the more outrageous blood values which even the IAAF had acknowledged".