World Anti-Doping Agency figures show 14% rise in doping sanctions

Anti-doping test
Anti-doping bodies collected more than 300,000 samples in 2015

More than 1,900 athletes were sanctioned for doping in 2015, new World Anti-Doping Agency figures show.

The 1,929 punishments for failed drug tests were an increase of 14% on the previous year, when 1,693 doping offences were carried out.

Wada says increased focus on investigations, intelligence gathering and whistleblowing are behind the rise.

"Recent events have shown investigative work is becoming ever more important," said Wada president Sir Craig Reedie.

However, he added that "testing remains vital to detecting doping".

Last year's McLaren report, which found more than 1,000 Russians benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme between 2011 and 2015, was commissioned by Wada following evidence from whistleblowers.

The report led to Russians being banned from international athletics competition as well as last summer's Paralympic Games in Rio.

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee is retesting hundreds of doping samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games based on targeted intelligence. More than 100 athletes have already been sanctioned as part of the retesting programme.

The latest Wada figures, though, are based on 2015 data. Its 2015 Anti-Doping Rule Violations Report shows there were 2,522 "adverse analytical findings" from 229,412 samples, of which 1,929 led to action against athletes.

The number of samples taken was 5% up on the 217,762 taken in 2014.

The figures do not include more than 70,000 tests and 1,200 failed tests which were not processed through Wada's anti-doping administration system (Adams). Many professional sports in North America do not use the Adams system.

The figures also show Russian athletes had the most anti-doping rule violations in 2015, with 176. The sport with the most sanctions was bodybuilding, with 270.

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