New analysis by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has revealed that anti-doping authorities caught 13 per cent fewer drug cheats in 2014, in spite of analysing around 10,000 more samples than the previous year.
WADA’s second anti-doping rule violations report discloses that 217,762 samples were received and analysed in 2014, leading to 1,462 anti-doping rule violations.
In addition, there were 231 so-called non-analytical anti-doping rule violations, stemming from evidence-based intelligence rather than detection of a prohibited substance in an individual’s body.
This made for a total of 1,693 anti-doping rule violations, down from 1,953 in 2013, when 207,513 samples were analysed.
The report once again underlines the tiny number of anti-doping rule violations that are triggered by blood samples.
Last time, the figure was three and, in 2014, this rose to just four, consisting of a Polish weightlifter and French, Moroccan and Swedish athletes.
Of analytical anti-doping rule violations, almost four in every five involved male athletes, while only just over one in five resulted from out-of-competition tests.
The new report shows that Russia was the country with the most anti-doping rule violations with 148, followed quite closely by Italy with 123 and India with 96.
More than 45 per cent of Italy’s figure was accounted for by cycling, with the country also producing a high tally of 24 non-analytical anti-doping rule violations.
Athletics, powerlifting and weightlifting accounted for most of India’s total, while bodybuilding was the main culprit in Belgium.
Athletics and football were the two biggest contributors to Brazil’s total of 46 anti-doping rule violations.
Among summer Olympic sports, football, athletics and cycling analysed the most samples; among winter Olympic sports, it was skiing.
The new figures show that fewer than two in three adverse analytical findings in 2014 resulted in anti-doping rule violations.
One in 10 of these failed samples was dismissed because of a valid therapeutic use exemption, with a further 14 per cent categorised as “no case to answer”, six per cent no sanction because the athlete was exonerated, while seven per cent were still pending.
While the proportion of adverse analytical findings that led to anti-doping rule violations in Summer Olympic sports, at 65 per cent, was bang in line with the average, the equivalent proportion in Winter Olympic sports was considerably lower at just 44 per cent.
Fully 36 per cent of these Winter Olympic sport cases - 41 in total - were found to have no case to answer, in what was a Winter Olympic year.
These 41 included a massive 18 of 28 adverse analytical findings in cross-country skiing and 12 out of 41 in ice-hockey.
The full report can be accessed here: wada-2014-adrv-report-en.pdf