German athletics federation (DLV) President Clemens Prokop said on Wednesday that he was frustrated not only at the findings of the survey carried out by the University of Tübingen and Harvard Medical School, but also at the fact that it had taken six years to get it published.
"This is more than annoying, you could also call it a scandal," Prokop said, a day after the report, that had been commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the athletics' world governing body, IAAF, was finally made public.
"Banning the publication has impaired the possibility of taking important measures in the anti-doping campaign much earlier," Prokop said.
The University of Tübingen has said that the release of the findings was delayed by wrangling between the IAAF and WADA over how the study should be published.
30-45 percent used PEDs
The survey revealed that at least 30 per cent of the athletes who competed at the 2011 athletics world championships in Daegu, South Korea, and 45 percent at the 2011 Pan-Arab Games in Doha were using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). This is in stark contrast to the number of athletes who tested positive, just 0.5 percent in Daegu and 3.6 per cent in Doha.
Prokop, however, said he was not convinced that doping is as common now as it was when the survey was conducted.
"We are working here with dark figures and not scientifically verifiable numbers," Prokop said. "I don't know if the number is still so high. Since then there has been a lot of work done in the fight against doping."
Doping has cast a shadow over the athletics in recent years after Russian track-and-field athletes were banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics after two WADA-commissioned reports revealed evidence of a systematic state-sponsored doping program in the country. Russian officials have disputed this.
Retesting of old samples using new methods has found that more than 100 athletes used banned substances at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games.Chuck Penfold (dpa, Reuters)