Nearly 1,600 doping rules violations in 2016 - WADA

(Reuters) - There were nearly 1,600 anti-doping rules violations (ADRV) in 2016 involving athletes and support staff from 117 nationalities across 112 sports with athletics top of the list, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said in a report released on Thursday.

A woman walks into the head office for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo

WADA said a total of 229,514 samples were collected in 2016 and analysed by WADA-accredited laboratories resulting in 1,595 ADRVs.

Of those, 1,326 were derived from adverse analytical findings and the remainder were from investigations and evidence-based intelligence into 248 violations committed by athletes and 21 by support staff.

“The 2016 ADRVs report makes for particularly interesting reading in combination with WADA’s 2016 Anti-Doping testing figures report that was published last year,” WADA President Craig Reedie said in a statement.

“We are continuing to see the impact of intelligence-based testing, an area of increasing focus for the agency as we strengthen our investigations and intelligence-gathering capacity.”

The vast major of adverse analytical findings (79 percent) were produced by male athletes (1,046) and were the results of results collected during in competition testing (78 percent).

Athletics topped the list of sports with the highest number of ADRVs on 205 followed by bodybuilding (183), cycling (165), weightlifting (116) and soccer (79).

Rounding out the top nine were powerlifting (70), wrestling (64), rugby union (56), aquatics (35) and boxing 35).

Italy topped the list of countries with the most ADRVs on 147 followed by France (86), the United States (76) and Australia (75).

Russia, whose participation at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games was restricted following an investigation which uncovered evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping, was tied for sixth with India on 69 ADRVs.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Ed Osmond