Latvia’s athletes top the world for doping

Nine athletes from Latvia were caught last year using banned performance enhancing substances, known as doping in the sports world, head Liene Kozlovska of Latvia’s Sports Medicine Center told national information agency LETA Thursday. The stats make Latvia currently one of the sports world’s ‘dirtiest’ nations, she said.

Other countries have not yet published their full statistics on the doping problem in their national sports scenes. “However, when looking at last year’s data and the number of athletes caught using banned substances, we’d be first place in the world in terms of the number of athletes caught compared to the total number of athletes competing from the country,” she explained.

Sports world observers say that a 1% indicator of doping on a national sports scene might be a ‘normal’ level, but Latvia’s was closer to 5% last year.  

Among the disgraced sports stars caught doping to improve their athletic performance were weightlifter Austris Saicāns, hockey players Vitālijs Pavlovs, Rafls Freibergs and Rudolfs Maslovskis, biathlonist Edgars Piksons and basketball players Kristers Zeidaks and Roberts Stumbris.

Kozlovska warned that “many people closely follow what’s going on around the sports world and these cases have been bad for Latvia’s reputation.”

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