Seventeen athletes face doping bans after abnormalities were detected in the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) biological passports which track changes in their blood profiles.
“Seventeen cases are currently under proceedings,” Thomas Capdevielle, the results manager in the IAAF's medical and anti-doping department, said on Wednesday.
“Nineteen cases were concluded with a sanction and three cases were referred to CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport).”
Capdevielle was speaking on the opening day of a two-day 'Tackling Doping in Sport 2013' conference convened by the World Sports Law Report.
The blood tests were conducted as part of the athletes' biological passport programme pioneered by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and introduced by the IAAF in 2009. The passport shows any changes in an athlete's blood sample, compared to the original profile, which could have been caused only by doping.
Capdevielle said there were also two case in which steroids had been detected in blood samples which were under consideration.
The French lawyer said blood samples had to be analysed by a World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory within 36 hours of collection “which in some countries poses a major problem for the IAAF”.
“Thirty-six hours is not impossible, it's very difficult, very costly but it's not impossible.
“So in some circumstances in some countries where there is no accredited laboratory nearby we fly in a team with a very tight schedule. We identify which athlete they have to test, they fly back and hand the blood sample to the nearest lab. Logistically this is very difficult but it is one solution we found.
“If we can't bring the sample to the lab let's bring the lab to the athletes.”
Capdevielle said the IAAF had asked the United States Anti-Doping Agency to test Kenyan athletes taking part in last year's Olympic trials staged in Eugene.
Three Kenyan athletes were suspended after positive tests for banned substances last month after three-times world 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Moses Kiptanui told Reuters doping was used in Kenyan training camps.
Capdevielle said there were approximately 150 Kenyan athletes with biological passports. He said the IAAF was working on “two serious leads” to establish laboratories in Kenya.
“We are confident we will organise this by the end of the year,” he said. “To achieve serious testing in these countries means setting up a lab first.”
This month the IAAF announced that six athletes, including the gold and silver medallists in the men's hammer, had failed retrospective drugs tests of samples taken at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki.
The IAAF retests samples from previous championships in an effort to find substances for which no valid test existed at the time.
Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters