By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has condemned the leak of information from a database containing thousands of blood values from athletes and said it did not come from its own files.
Data from thousands of blood tests performed between 2001-12 came to the attention of the Sunday Times newspaper and German broadcaster ARD, leading to damning accusations that athletics governing body the IAAF had failed to act on hundreds of suspicious results, many involving Olympic medalists.
"WADA condemns the leak of athletes' confidential information and wants to assure athletes of the world that they can have full confidence in our Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS) in protecting their personal data," WADA director general David Howman said in a statement.
WADA said it had not been granted access to the leaked information which has thrown the sport into a crisis and led IAAF vice-president Sebastian Coe to state that war had been declared on his sport.
The IAAF on Tuesday issued a lengthy statement hitting back at the allegations made by the two media organizations, saying the analysis of the data, apparently leaked by a whistleblower, was guesswork and not fact.
Howman said that drawing conclusions from the data, most of which pre-dates the introduction of Athlete Biological Passports (ABP) in 2009, would be reckless.
"WADA would also like to reassure clean athletes that atypical blood data, which may appear within this database, is not necessarily indicative of doping," Howman said.
"The strength of the ABP is that it measures data over time, aligned with WADA's rules governing the ABP. It would be reckless to draw conclusions on the basis of limited information."
(Editing by Clare Fallon)