UK Sport says welfare not risked with athlete substance test

LONDON (AP) — The UK Sport government agency said athletes’ welfare was not put at risk with the use of an experimental substance ahead of the 2012 London Olympics that was disclosed for the first time Sunday by a newspaper.

The Mail on Sunday reported public money was used to provide a select band of athletes with an energy drink called DeltaG, claiming there were no guarantees the product did not cause side-effects nor was it certain to be cleared by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

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

“UK Sport does not fund research projects aimed at giving our national teams a performance advantage at the expense of athlete welfare,” UK Sport said in a statement. “As the nation’s high-performance sports agency, UK Sport invests in expert institutes who deliver research and innovation projects to support the success of our national sports teams.

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“These projects range from designing world-class technical equipment for our athletes, to supporting athlete health and performance. These research and innovation projects are conducted in line with the highest ethical standards, within the rules of international sport and are assessed by an expert independent research advisory group.”

UK Sport did not say why the use of drink was not previously disclosed. The Mail on Sunday said waivers and non-disclosure forms had to be signed by those on the trial.

UK Sport, which said it “will never seek to win medals at any cost,” maintained it complied with international anti-doping regulations.

“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,’” UK Sport said. “By its very nature, any performance innovation project is at the cutting edge of science and emerging technology, as any advantage for Great Britain is only possible before it is widely available — as was the case for the ketone ester which became commercially available in 2018.

“Any research project funded by UK Sport investment includes a participant consent form to ensure it operates with full transparency with regards to any risks to participants, and also for the purpose of full disclosure. Decisions which lie at the heart of the high performance system need to be made with absolute transparency, are respectful and the impact of these decisions understood and carefully managed.”

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