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UK Sport denies using athletes as 'guinea pigs' in London 2012 Olympics

Last updated 7 months ago | By AFP

[Photo: Courtesy]

UK Sport has denied putting athletes welfare at risk after a report claimed British Olympians had been given an experimental substance ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.

The Mail on Sunday reported public money was used to provide a select band of 91 athletes with an energy drink called DeltaG, claiming they had been used as guinea pigs with no guarantee the substance would not cause side effects or breach anti-doping regulations.

Athletes were given waivers over holding UK Sport liable for side effects or positive doping tests as well as non-disclosure agreements preventing them from talking publicly about the project.

UK Sport said they had consulted with both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and UK Anti-Doping before using the product to make sure it complied with guidelines - and the health of competitors would not be put on the line for the sake of an improved medal haul.

Team GB won a record 29 gold medals at the home Games to finish third on the medal table.

“UK Sport does not fund research projects aimed at giving our national teams a performance advantage at the expense of athlete welfare,” said UK Sport in a statement.

“Consultation takes place with UK Anti-Doping and WADA wherever necessary to ensure projects comply with international anti-doping regulations.”

UK Sport also waivers and non-disclosure forms for those on the trial were standard practice.

“UK Anti-Doping confirmed in writing, after seeking clarification from the World Anti-Doping Agency, that WADA had ‘no reason to consider such substances as banned under the 2011 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods’,” the agency added.

“UK Sport is fully committed to developing a high performance culture that is truly inspirational and one that will set us apart from our global competitors - but UK Sport will never seek to win medals at any cost.”

The Mail on Sunday’s investigation found 40 percent of athletes ended up with side effects including vomiting and gastrointestinal upsets.

As a result 28 individuals stopped taking the substance for this reason. A further 24 later withdrew from the scheme because they thought the substance was in no way beneficial to them. 

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