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WADA data leak: Cyber hackers publish medical records of Olympic champions Nadal, Farah

Other high-profile names included Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba, British cyclist Callum Skinner and double Olympic rowing gold medallist Helen Glover. Photograph: (AFP)

WION London, United Kingdom Sep 20, 2016, 02.23 AM (IST)
Olympic champions Mo Farah, Rafael Nadal and Justin Rose were the latest targets of the recent cyber attack by a Russian espionage group. 

The Russian group called Fancy Bears, who hacked into World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) records, are publishing confidential medical documents. 

The hackers are believed to have gained access to WADA's anti-doping administration and management system (ADAMS) via an IOC-created account for the Rio Games.

Spanish tennis ace Nadal and four-time Olympic champion distance runner Farah were among the 60 international athletes whose files were hacked. 

The athletes were shown to have used TUEs, therapeutic use exemptions, in the past to gain permission to take substances that figure on WADA's banned list. The athletes said they had nothing to hide, as they had never taken anything to enhance their performance. 

"When you ask permission to take something for therapeutic reasons and they give it to you, you're not taking anything prohibited," Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam winner, told Spanish media.

Nadal said he would, in fact, support the publishing of all medical records as it would add transparency to the sport. 

"It would be much more beneficial for sportsmen and women, spectators and media that every time a drug test is taken the news is made public and two weeks later there are the results," he added.

"This would end the problem. The sport has to take a step forward and be totally transparent. I have been saying this for years."

TUEs can be issued to athletes who have an illness or condition that requires the use of normally prohibited medication.

Documents relating to Farah showed he received intravenous infusions of saline solution, morphine sulphate and vicodin administered orally during a period in hospital between July 3-5, 2014 when he had collapsed after a training run.

Nadal had received exemptions in 2009 and 2012 when he out with a wrist injury. 

WADA alleged that the attacks were only a smear campaign possibly carried out in retaliation for investigations into state-sponsored doping in Russia. 

The leaks have reopened a larger debate about TUEs and whether the system is open to abuse from competitors gaining an advantage by taking banned drugs.

(WION with inputs from agencies)
 
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