Sandro Donati, beyond the Schwazer case: “I fought against doping when no one did”

At the Sports Festival an icon of the fight against prohibited substances talks about his book, retraces the ordeal of the walker and tells himself: “I would have liked to be a coach, I had no vocation for the fight against doping”

From our correspondent Valerio Piccioni

“If today there is a widespread anti-doping culture, not only in Italy, we owe it above all to him”. Franco Arturi thus introduces Sandro Donati by presenting “I signori del doping” at the Sport Festival bookstore. An hour of story listened in silence by an audience with many coaches. “And I wanted to be a coach, I didn’t have a vocation for the fight against doping, but I opposed the time when hardly anyone did”. The book is the detailed account of the Schwazer case, from the decision to train him to the competitive return of the athlete up to the second positivity of the now infamous control of 1 January 2016 which led first to the eight-year disqualification of Tas, then to the long judicial investigation of Bolzano up to the filing of the doping accusations and the words of the investigating judge Walter Pelino who in the ordinance writes of “manipulation with a high degree of probability”.


The story does not stop with Schwazer, it goes beyond his case, it highlights the activity of “international organizations – says Donati – that move outside of every rule and make their own rules”. The reference is to World Athletics, the World Athletics Federation, and to Wada. Wada who, through the mouth of its general manager, Oliver Niggli, in a recent interview with Sky claimed the distinction between sporting and ordinary justice, ignoring the Bolzano ordinance and reaffirming that the sporting trial in Schwazer was carried out with much more scruple in the examination of the evidence of the penal one. “The sporting trial? It lasted three hours and we faced it with very few papers, without documentation, against four years and two months of investigations in Bolzano …” For Donati this is “the anti-doping of appearance and not of substance. this I made the proposal of a third test tube (in addition to those for analysis and counter-analysis in the hands of the sports system) to protect the athlete to be opened only in case of positivity “. The Roman sports master also remembers the hesitation of the World Anti-Doping Agency before the Russian doping pot was uncovered: “In the book I tell of the denunciation of a Russian discobola sent in copy to Cio, Iaaf and Wada, who had the absurd idea to turn the matter over to the Moscow authorities, exposing the athlete to an enormous risk “.


Donati also has a moving moment when he talks about the weeks he spent coaching Schwazer. And of the moment when the Olympian stops taking antidepressants and begins to accumulate kilometers with his new technician. “I was following him on my bike, at a certain point he stopped and turning towards me said:” Prof, I’m happy “.


Meanwhile, there is another judicial front that has opened up. After receiving a complaint on the subject, the Authority Integrity Unit of the former Iaaf, now World Arhletics, asked Schwazer for clarification, threatening another disqualification. The reason? Schwazer participated in a presentation of Donati’s book which allegedly involved a sports club violating, according to the interpretation of the complaint, a rule of the code that prohibits contacts with subjects directly or indirectly connected to the international federation. A truly timely diligence, very far from the total absence of a minimum of reflection on what was written by an Italian judge after four years of investigations into the flaws in the international anti-doping system.

We wish to say thanks to the author of this write-up for this outstanding content

Sandro Donati, beyond the Schwazer case: “I fought against doping when no one did”