7 Apr 2022
Joint-statement by the Athletics Integrity Unit of World Athletics and the World Anti-Doping Agency in relation to the case of Italian race walker Alex Schwazer / World Athletics; World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). - 2021
- CAS 2016_A_4707 Alex Schwazer vs IAAF, NADO Italia, FIDAL & WADA
January 30, 2017
- IOC 2012 IOC vs Alex Schwazer (id:1245;
August 10, 2012
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) notes the results of additional investigations into the case of Italian race walker, Alex Schwazer, the results of which confirm that the athlete’s sample collected on 1 January 2016 by World Athletics was not subject to any form of manipulation.
A decision of 18 February 2021, by investigating judge, Walter Pelino, from the Bolzano region of Italy, concluded that Mr. Schwazer’s sample was likely to have been manipulated. This was based on the contention that the concentration of DNA in the sample was too elevated to be physically possible and therefore that the sample must have been manipulated.
Upon WADA’s request, anti-doping scientist Professor Martial Saugy from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland has reviewed the manipulation scenario described in the decision of Judge Pelino. Professor Saugy’s report, which has now been published, establishes that the manipulation scenario devised by Judge Pelino is wholly implausible and that there is no analytical evidence of it.
In addition, since WADA’s statement in April 2021, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which since 2017 oversees anti-doping on behalf of World Athletics, commissioned the Forensic Genetics Unit laboratory in Lausanne (which has an ISO-accreditation for DNA analysis) to conduct a blind study involving the analysis of the urinary DNA concentrations of 100 samples* from male endurance athletes. The results demonstrate conclusively that the DNA concentration measured in Mr. Schwazer’s sample is within the normal physiological range. Indeed, much higher values were observed, even after years of storage, and approximately 20% of the samples studied had DNA concentrations greater than that detected in Mr. Schwazer’s sample. The highest concentration, which came from a sample that had been stored for three years before DNA analysis, was nearly 10 times higher than the highest concentration measured in Mr. Schwazer’s sample. Therefore, the whole basis for the manipulation scenario (i.e. that the DNA levels were not physically possible) is wrong.
In light of the new reports, WADA and the AIU have published a detailed joint-statement explaining why the manipulation theory does not stand up to scrutiny.
*These consisted of 85 separate samples. Additionally, in 15 cases, both the A and B samples were analyzed.