Donati: “Schwazer is a victim of unreliable institutions. Now new investigations”


The trainer, who coached the walker and supported him throughout the legal battle, says: “Now there is no impartiality. An international association cannot control itself.”

Valerio Piccioni

The Power of Truth. Two words that Sandro Donati uses to explain the success of the Netflix docuseries he narratesThe case of Alex Schwazer. “It was a transparent, real, human story, with no lies. People probably understood that.” Donati, a lifetime of fighting doping, the trainer who guided Alex Schwazer’s new career and didn’t let him down after the controversial and always disputed testosterone positivity, hasn’t stopped fighting that , which he sees as a gigantic injustice.

Donati, what does this story teach you?

“It shows how deviant some sports institutions are. That was already clear when two high profile people left Wada. Jack Robertson was the chief inspector and protagonist of the Russia investigation, while Rob Kohler held the role of deputy general manager. One of the problems was.” The lack of protection for the athletes who had reported was relieved. And on that point, disturbing things happened: it took a couple of years and over 200 emails before Mr and Mrs Stepanov (the most well-known regret of the state doping scandal) had an answer. And what about the discus girl Darya Pishchalnikova, who told the IAAF and Wada the whole doping system with an email that the heads of these two institutions sent to the Russian leaders? An act of great subservience and cowardice.”

However, the fight against doping has made great progress in recent years: research, new methods, analysis, technology. Where is all this going?

“A lot of it is predetermined. There is never an increase in positive results. In fact, we are witnessing a worrying increase in certain benefits measures and how are they doing it?

You spoke of some dissenting sports institutions. how big is the problem

“But even a child recognizes that in certain professional sports cases doping cases do not and could not appear: Nobody loses a double-digit million dollar business from a soccer player for a positive anti-doping control. And the supposed equality between the professional athletes and amateur athletes at a high level? But where are these pros positive? For professional athletes, yes for all athletes, we need to think about a more humane system that has a big impact on prevention. For example, by examining an index individual of normality: if you exceed this value, you will be stopped.

But isn’t that already there with the biological passport?

“And how is it used? The statistics are absolutely opaque. They provide information on the number of tests, but which categories of athletes are the tests aimed at? For example the surprise controls, how do they affect the top level.” Athletes? And if you make two missed exam, will another test start immediately or will the third never come? What about therapeutic exceptions? Are they verified with weight? And then the fundamental question: Can an international federation control itself?”

But on the one hand you denounce the lack of guarantees for Schwazer and the athletes, on the other hand you say that the system prefers not to take action.

“We are facing a completely self-centered system, one shaped by self-protection. If an athlete has the courage to challenge these powers, he turns to the judicial authorities that the sporting institutions themselves have appointed: for example, the CAS referees.” by the IOC and international federations. There is no impartiality. And do you know how much it costs to appeal to the CAS or the Swiss Federal Supreme Court?”

We read about an amount of almost 50,000 euros.

“At least. So many athletes give up because they can’t, a ruthless system. If you’re dealing with an international federation, they all have the cards. Do you remember what happened in July seven years ago? The CAS set the hearing, but the IAAF said it had to study the documents. But if they had kept the positivity report for 40 days! Another element in this mountain of strange things in the Schwazer affair. The transport inspector seriously contradicted himself. Actually he does the second verbalization contradicts the first? In a normal situation, that would have been enough to undo everything, but the gentlemen didn’t bat an eyelid. This is currently the implementation of the controls: there is the sampling, sample A, sample B, after that the inspector goes with both bottles and nothing is left in the hands of the athlete.”

“The athlete has the right to have a third test tube deposited in an accredited laboratory that is inaccessible to the athlete and the control body. The system is ready to answer: But we guarantee. But the numerous scandals say otherwise: if the history of the IAAF has shown that it was a positivity trade that consisted in blackmailing the athletes.

In the face of the Schwazer case, many people say: “Something is wrong”, in fact a lot is wrong. But one also wonders: is it possible that all this was organized just to meet just one athlete?

“It is an objection from those who have not examined the facts. I think the institutions involved are stuck in the decision to deny everything. To break this vicious circle, we needed a responsible person who would say enough, if only on the basis of.” The untruths of the chain of custody reports could be overturned due to a formal flaw and a commission of inquiry set up.

However, Wada was a turning point early on.

“Only at the beginning, then this body didn’t work anymore. I asked several times about the Russia loans to Wada from 2013 to 2015.”

“But if they are in the annual accounts. Attention: exceptional financing. Exceptional for what?”

Donati, what are you hoping for after almost seven years of this long history?

“I hope that a body outside the sports system, for example within the European Union, can launch an independent investigation, but I know that it is utopian, also because politics has become a trifle.”

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