Double Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee has become the latest British sports star to have his medical data leaked online by Russian computer hackers the Fancy Bears.
The sixth batch of stolen therapeutic use exemption (TUE) forms belongs to 20 athletes from 14 different countries. Some 127 athletes have now been named by the Fancy Bears over the last three weeks.
The 28-year-old Brownlee’s TUE – effectively a doctor’s note enabling him to take medication that would normally be banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency – was for a two-day course of acetazolamide in October 2013.
The drug is used to treat altitude sickness or glaucoma but as a diuretic it has been used by some athletes as a masking agent.
“I have had one TUE in my career in October 2013 for Diamox to treat altitude sickness while climbing Kilimanjaro,” Leeds athlete Brownlee said on Twitter.
Making light of the situation, he added: “Slightly embarrassing that someone as fit as me suffered from altitude sickness but thankfully @jonny_brownlee was there to carry me.”
As with the other 126 athletes whose TUEs have been hacked from WADA’s database, there is no suggestion of Brownlee, a four-time world champion, breaking any anti-doping rules.
Brownlee is the 24th British sports star named, others include cyclists Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins, and distance runner Mo Farah.
The Fancy Bears, who are believed to have targeted WADA’s database in retaliation for the investigations that exposed Russia’s state-sponsored doping programme, have been condemned by anti-doping groups for breaching data protection laws and falsely accusing innocent athletes of cheating.
WADA has defended the TUE process, saying it is essential to allow athletes with medical conditions to compete at the highest level.