Cape Town - The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) has noted with dismay the
release of various international athletes’ confidential medical information by
the cyber hackers, Fancy Bears.
This past weekend the hacker group
released medical information hacked from the Anti-Doping Administration
Management System (ADAMS) of South African Olympic swimmer, Cameron van der
The releases centre on the use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) by a
number of athletes across the world. TUEs are issued to athletes who have a
medical condition which requires treatment using substances that are normally
prohibited by anti-doping authorities.
In South Africa, TUEs are issued in terms of strict rules and
international standards and are assessed by an independent panel of medical
experts. The process is designed to ensure that the requirement is genuine and
that, in the prevailing circumstances, the substance does not afford the
athlete an unfair advantage but rather addresses a medical condition
The Fancy Bears leaks appear to be designed to discredit the World
Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and national anti-doping agencies processes. SAIDS condemns
the publication of confidential medical information and the attempt to also
discredit individual athletes.
SAIDS would like to reassure the South African public that its TUE
processes are rigorous and thorough. It remains confident that TUEs in the
country are only issued in genuine cases and where they do not give athletes an
That said, the leaks have given rise to speculation about abuse of TUEs
by certain athletes and their doctors and there have been suggestions from
certain quarters that the TUE process could and should be refined. SAIDS is
continually improving its methods as part of the fight against doping and
reviews of the TUE system will continue to be part of that.