Germany’s anti-doping agency is to investigate 28 athletes who may have received blood transfusions from a doctor at the centre of a doping scandal at one of the country’s Olympic training centres in the eastern city of Erfurt.
Prosecutors have been investigating sports physician Andreas Franke since February last year on suspicion of violating laws on the use of medicines.
Public prosecutor Hannes Grunseisen said: “The defendant is accused of treating blood from athletes with ultraviolet light before returning it to the individual’s body. There is a justified suspicion of illegal use of medical products for doping purposes.”
Among several prominent athletes to be investigated are Nils Schumann – the 800 metre champion at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 23-year-old German cyclist Marcel Kittel, the 1996 Olympic long jump silver medallist James Beckford of Jamaica and five-time Winter Olympic speed skating champion Claudia Pechstein; in 2009 she was banned for two years by the International Skating Union for suspected blood doping.
Although Pechstein protested her innocence the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the suspension.
Franke has also claimed his innocence saying his methods of Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation, methods banned by the world anti-doping agency, were to prevent infections.