Ninety-one elite-level sports people across eight Olympic sports were used as “guinea pigs” in a secret UK Sport project trialling ketones in the run-up to London 2012, an investigation by the Mail on Sunday has claimed.
The Telegraph reports that the investigation claimed that the athletes in question were allegedly given an energy-boosting drink branded ‘DeltaG’, despite the product only being available for use in research, and there being no guarantees at the time as to whether or not it would not breach anti-doping rules or that it was free of side-effects.
All athletes who agreed to use DeltaG were obliged to sign binding non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), preventing them from ever speaking about their involvement in the project.
The product, a synthetic version of a naturally occurring body acid called ketones, was originally developed by scientists at Oxford University who responded in 2003 to a $10m challenge laid down by the United States Army to create the most efficient fuel for US soldiers to take on to the battlefield.
A version of the product has since been approved by Wada.
The UK Sport government agency said athletes´ welfare was not put at risk with the use of an experimental substance ahead of the 2012 London Olympics that was disclosed for the first time Sunday by a newspaper.
The Mail on Sunday reported public money was used to provide a select band of athletes with an energy drink called DeltaG, claiming there were no guarantees the product did not cause side-effects nor was it certain to be cleared by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
UK Sport said it had consulted with both WADA and UK Anti-Doping before using the product to make sure it complied with guidelines and that the health of athletes would not be put on the line for the sake of an improved medal haul.
“UK Sport does not fund research projects aimed at giving our national teams a performance advantage at the expense of athlete welfare,” UK Sport said in a statement. “As the nation´s high-performance sports agency, UK Sport invests in expert institutes who deliver research and innovation projects to support the success of our national sports teams