German doping probe implicates 28

Updated: January 30, 2012, 2:19 PM ET
Associated Press

BERLIN -- Germany's national anti-doping agency will investigate 28 athletes to see whether they received blood transfusions from a doctor at the center of a doping scandal.

NADA said Monday it will review the court documents from an ongoing case against Dr. Andreas Franke, who worked at a training center run by the German Olympic Sports Confederation for top-level athletes in Erfurt, central Germany.

NADA president Andrea Gotzmann said she hopes the documents will help the body "decide which athletes we proceed with" in the investigation.

Franke is suspected of treating athletes' blood with UV light before re-injecting it back into the same athlete, a procedure banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Public broadcaster ARD said Sunday it had a list of the 28 names implicated in the scandal, including former Olympic speedskating champion Claudia Pechstein, former 800-meter Olympic champion Nils Schumann, rising German cycling star Marcel Kittel and Jamaican long jumper James Beckford.

It did not reveal all the names but said some athletes were minors when they received transfusions at the state-funded center.

"Of course we will use due diligence to look into each case ... regardless of whether we're dealing with Olympic champions or young athletes," Gotzmann said Monday.

Authorities searched Franke's clinic and the training center for evidence last April, and NADA said it was pushing the investigation into possible doping offenses "as quickly and intensively as legally possible."

NADA already had brought two cases before the German Institution of Arbitration, including that of the 22-year-old cyclist Jakob Steigmiller, whose blood allegedly was treated by Franke following an infection.

"Jakob informed NADA openly and honestly what happened, when and how," Thueringer Energie Team manager Joerg Werner told the dapd news agency.

"He asked the doctor if the treatment was permitted," Werner said. "Names are being burned without it being certain what actually happened."


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press