Cases of doping in international sport increased by more than 13% in a year, the annual report the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published on Thursday, revealed.
In Belgium on the other hand, a decrease of 26% was recorded, however Belgium nonetheless remains in the top 10 of countries most affected.
The document, focusing on 2017, turned up 1,804 cases of violations of anti-doping laws, against 1,595 in 2016, the Montreal-based agency states. These cases from 2017 concern 93 sports and affect 114 countries.
The agency study shows that Italy heads the list of countries most affected by the violations (171), followed by France (128) and the United States (103).
Brazil is in 4th position (84), just in front of Russia (82), which has just been excluded by WADA for four years from the main international sporting events for having given false information. The Russian anti-doping agency announced on Thursday its intention to contest the exclusion.
China (62), India (57), Belgium (54), Spain (52) and South Africa (43) complete the list of the ten nations most affected by doping in the world.
Sports in which the greatest number of violations were recorded are bodybuilding (266 cases), followed by athletics (242) and cycling (218). Football (78) and rugby (54) come 6th and 8th respectively.
In Belgium, 54 violations were reported, 19 fewer than in 2016 when the country came 5th in the rankings of countries most affected. Fifteen disciplines are involved. Bodybuilding is the most affected with 31 cases, way ahead of power lifting (5). Third place is occupied by tennis (3). Two violations were recorded in cycling, football and volleyball.
Of the 1,804 doping cases reported in 2017, the vast majority (1,459) were detected thanks to analysis results, the remainder coming from investigative and intelligence work without any detection of prohibited substances, WADA states.
“Inspections in and out of competition are key to the detection of doping, but recent events have shown that inquiries are playing an increasingly important part in the protection of clean sports people’s rights the world over,” the agency’s director general, Olivier Niggli, said.