Sunday 01, Dec 2013

Entire Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission Resigns

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The entire board of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission and its chairman, Dr. Herb Elliot, has resigned, after World Anti-Doping Agency officials visited Jamaica to conduct what the nation’s minister for sport called an “extraordinary audit.”

The board members will step down on December 31.

The island country has been facing doping allegations and being lenient and not doing enough to catch sport cheaters after JADCO’s former executive director, Renee Anne Shirley, revealed in an article that JADCO conducted only one out-of-competition drug test in the five months leading up to the 2012 Olympics. She added that JADCO had never conducted a blood test on an athlete and that it was perpetually understaffed.

Six Jamaican track and field athletes have been banned for positive drug tests in 2013, including three-time Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown, former world 100-meter record holder Asafa Powell, and relay gold medalist Sherone Simpson.

Powell and Simpson tested positive for oxilofrine and Campbell-Brown was found to have used a diuretic.

Meanwhile, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt, the two Jamaican sprint superstars who are the 2013 IAAF Athletes of the Year, have strongly defended the country’s anti-doping program.

Bolt recently remarked that he lost a lucrative sponsorship because the would-be sponsor was made to believe that he would not be eligible for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“That information is not correct,” stated Bolt. “There are a lot of things that are going on with this drugs thing that I really feel they need to clarify because, for me, it’s causing problems for me when it comes to making money from my sport. We really need to get this out of the way and move past this, get the rules down, get everything straight.”

Thursday 28, Nov 2013

IAAF President Criticizes WADA

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The President of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has lashed out at the World Anti-Doping Agency for what he called a “ridiculous” campaign against Jamaica and Kenya. Lamine Diack criticized the anti-doping agency after the two countries were placed under scrutiny over anti-doping procedures.

Diack, while speaking at the presentation of the annual athletics awards ceremony, remarked track and field is among the sports leading the fight against doping and should not be stigmatized.

This month, the World Anti-Doping Agency conducted an extraordinary audit of Jamaica’s anti-doping commission and urged Kenya to establish a government inquiry into allegations of widespread doping at its high-altitude training bases.

“They are the most tested countries in the world. All this is ridiculous,” Diack said. “It is like WADA is making a campaign trying to make a statement. They went to Jamaica, what did they find? Nothing.”

“They have found and suspended some athletes which is positive and a good move,” Diack said. “We must stop all these. We are doing our best in athletics. You rarely hear of four-year suspensions in football but they have doping concerns too.”

Meanwhile, star athlete Usain Bolt has remarked that the doping problems of Jamaica had resulted in a lost sponsorship deal for him. “It is a problem because a sponsor came up to me and an agency advised them that they should not work with me,” Bolt said. “There is a lot of things going on with this drug thing that I feel needs to be corrected and clarified because it is causing a lot of problems for me and my sport. We need to get everything sorted up because for me it’s really costing me money now and I am not too happy about it.”

Sunday 24, Nov 2013

Bolt Loses Big-Money Sponsorship Deal

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Usain Bolt, world’s most famous athlete, has called for an end to false allegations about the doping problems of Jamaica after he revealed that a would-be sponsor pulled plug on endorsement deal.

The triple world and Olympic champion said a would-be sponsor recently pulled the plug on an endorsement deal after he read inaccurate media reports that Bolt would be ineligible for the Rio Olympics. The reports stemmed from comments made by outgoing WADA President John Fahey who remarked Jamaica could be ruled non-compliant with the WADA code because of the country’s failure to control doping, which could lead to its expulsion from the Olympic Games.

“A sponsor came up to us and was saying, ‘We’d like to sponsor you’. They then used an agency that does background checks to figure out if it’s viable to sponsor you and it came back that WADA had said that I would not be eligible to run at the next Olympics.

 “That information is not correct, so there are a lot of things that are going on with this drugs thing that I really feel they need to clarify because, for me, it’s causing problems for me when it comes to making money from my sport.

“We really need to get this out of the way and move past this, get the rules down, get everything straight and get it down fast because we need to move on.

“In every sport there are drug scandals and problems but people get it done and move past it. That’s what we have to do because it’s really costing me money now, and I’m not too happy about that.”

Lamine Diack, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, backed Bolt and accused WADA of waging a campaign against countries like Jamaica and Kenya with their public criticisms and of behaving in a “ridiculous” manner.

Monday 28, Oct 2013

WADA Team To Visit Jamaica Next Week

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A World Anti-Doping Agency team will visit Jamaica, a country troubled by doping allegations and lack of drug testing, amid reports that athletes of the country may face an Olympic ban over the handling of recent drug scandals by Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO).

The two-day visit by a three-strong WADA team for a special audit was confirmed by Doctor Herbert Elliott, chairman of the board of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO). WADA will be sending three officers to Jamaica next Monday and Tuesday (October 28 and 29), Elliott was quoted as saying but the chairman did not say who the officers from WADA would be.

WADA president John Fahey was recently left infuriated by “farcical” attempts by JADCO to put off an audit until next year. JADCO’s refusal was despite Jamaica`s prime minister inviting WADA to investigate allegations by the former executive director of JADCO that drug testing program of the agency was insufficient.

“The current position is unacceptable to WADA and we`re not going to take it lying down,” Fahey remarked.

Fahey indicated to the Daily Telegraph that the island country could be found to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code that may have meant that athletes, including sprint superstar Usain Bolt, be barred from major international competitions until the situation is resolved.

Monday 14, Oct 2013

Jamaican Coach Expresses Disappointment With Anti-Doping Initiatives

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Glen Mills, top Jamaican track and field coach, has expressed disappointment with the initiatives taken by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and government. He also remarked that athletes from the island have become easy and unfair targets for some sections of the international community.

“They target Jamaica because of its success. There is no doubt about it … ,” Mills said in an interview. “The Jamaican anti-doping program is, by comparison, fairly new. Most countries performing at our level have been well advanced in their anti-doping programs in terms of years of experience and expertise.”

“I believe that the criticism is somewhat harsh in that based on the fact that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) came here and did an evaluation of the program and gave it a thumbs up, and that was as early as last year, I am a bit surprised that Jamaica, a couple months later, is being seen as a country that is not developing or enforcing a good anti-doping program,” Mills added.

“Why? Nobody wants to see Jamaica continue its dominance of sprinting at the world level. And the international media – again, one has to question the balance of their reporting. I have read some terrible articles written about Jamaica. I have read some terrible articles trying to insinuate that Usain Bolt‘s success is false because of all of this,” added Mills, who compared Jamaica’s anti-doing record against that of other countries.

“We have had some adverse analytical findings for stimulants and those other things, but there are so many cases of steroid use in other countries in the past couple of months, yet there is no sensationalizing around those countries or athletes. Yet everyone is banging on the Jamaicans because of our success, and the truth of the matter is that our success has come through hard work, excellent coaches, and making the best use of our facilities that are below world-class standards,” Mills said.

Sunday 11, Aug 2013

American Sprinter Trying To Block Out Doping Scandals

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Justin Gatlin says he is concentrating on himself and not thinking about recent doping scandals ahead of the world championships. The American sprinter and 2004 Athens Olympic champion will be one of the main favorites for 100m gold in Russia as many of his main rivals including fellow American Tyson Gay and Jamaican Asafa Powell will be missing.

Gay and Powell will be absent after they failed drug tests. Meanwhile, the reigning world champion Yohan Blake is also out with injury. All this means Justin Gatlin will start the competition as the main rival to Usain Bolt, the twice triple Olympic gold medalist and world record holder.

Gatlin while he was himself twice banned for doping has refused to get involved in the current debate. “I have to stay concentrated and get ready for the worlds,” he said in an interview. “The show must go on. I think a lot of athletes think like that. Staying concentrated and winning for your country, that’s what counts.”

Gatlin, the Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meters, is a two-time World indoor champion in the 60-meter dash. Gatlin, at the London 2012 Olympics, ran a time of 9.79 in the 100-meter final, earning him a bronze medal and his performance at the 2012 Olympic 100 meter final contributed to the fastest 100-meter race ever that saw three men run under the 9.80-second barrier.

The second failed dope test of Gatlin was in 2006 that saw him banned for four years but he has since made a comeback. The 31-year-old Gatlin and his American teammates are training in Linz until August 5 before heading to Moscow, where the worlds start on August 10.

Tuesday 06, Aug 2013

Doping Scandals In Track Have ‘Set Us Back,’ Says Bolt

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The world’s fastest man said recently that the recent spate of doping scandals in athletics will damage the sport. Usain Bolt also remarked that he is running clean and positive tests of his countrymen won’t affect his preparations for the upcoming world championships.

Bolt stopped short of condemning Jamaican teammates Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson or American rival Tyson Gay, whose failed doping tests have left the sport in turmoil.

“Definitely it’s going to set us back a little bit,” Bolt said in London. “But as a person I can’t focus on this.

“I still have world championships, everyone is stepping up their game so I have to really focus on that. … I am just trying to work hard, run fast and hopefully help people to forget what has happened, and just move on.”

“I was made to inspire people and to run, and I was given the gift and that’s what I do,” the six-time Olympic champion said. “I am confident in myself and my team, the people I work with. And I know I am clean.

“So I’m just going to continue running, using my talent and just trying to improve the sport.”

“If you were following me since 2002 you would know that I have been doing phenomenal things since I was 15,” the 26-year-old Bolt said. “I was the youngest person to win the world juniors at 15. I ran the world junior (200) record 19.93 at (17) … I have broken every record there is to break, in every event I have ever done.

“For me, I have proven myself since I was 15. … I have shown everything throughout the years since I was always going to be great.”

Monday 08, Jul 2013

Bolt Advocates For Improved Anti-Doping Controls

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Jamaican runner Usain Bolt has declared himself clean of performance enhancing drugs after the latest anti-doping test to be failed by a Jamaican sprinter.

The Olympic 100m and 200m champion also echoed the sentiments of his coach Glen Mills who said that an anti-doping laboratory in Jamaica would help in the prevention of doping among athletes of the nation. Ahead of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris, Bolt said, “I am clean, I’m sure about that,” and added “I welcome people to test me every day if necessary to prove it to the world. I have no problem.”

“The only thing I’m not happy about is when the testers knock on my door at 6am,” he quipped. “I won’t even risk a cold remedy.”  “I asked Michael Johnson why he retired – he said he’d won everything and dominated everything,” Bolt continued. “I want to be that person. There are always going to be younger, faster kids coming up, but I enjoy competing against the best and look forward to beating them.

“This is my chance to compete against younger athletes and also a fully fit Tyson, because he’s been injured a lot before and now he’s in great shape.”

Recently, star Jamaican runner and reigning women’s 200m world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown became the latest high-profile Jamaican athlete to fail a drugs test after a banned diuretic was found in her ‘A’ sample in June. In 2009, two-time and reigning Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was banned for six months after her coach Stephen Francis gave her the banned painkiller Oxycodone he had used to deal with kidney stones. In the same year, reigning 100m world champion and Usain Bolt’s training partner, Yohan Blake, was banned for three months after testing positive for the stimulant 4-Methyl-2-hexanamine, while 1984 Olympic 100m silver medalist Ray Stewart was handed a lifetime ban in 2010 for trafficking performance enhancing drugs.

Friday 05, Jul 2013

Usain Bolt’s Jamaican Teammate Fails Dope Test

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One of Jamaica’s biggest sporting heroines and bracketed with Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell in superstar status, Veronica Campbell-Brown, has tested positive for the diuretic lasix.

The world 200 meter (m) champion Veronica tested positive only a few days after 400m runner Dominique Blake lost her appeal against a six-year ban for a second doping offense.  She is the second woman in history to win two consecutive Olympic 200 m events, after Bärbel Wöckel of Germany at the 1976 and 1980 Olympics. Veronica in 2009 won two gold medals, the 100 m and 4 x 100 m relay at the inaugural IAAF World Youth Championships.

Blake, who tested positive last year for Methylhexaneamine, a stimulant that is commonly used as a nasal decongestant, was banned in competition during Jamaica’s Olympic trials last June, when she finished sixth in the 400m. Campbell-Brown tested positive for the diuretic that can act as a masking agent for performance-enhancing substances, from a sample given at the Jamaica Invitational meet on May 4 this year.

The nation was being unfairly targeted because of the outstanding performances of Bolt and others, Jamaican head coach David Riley claimed after five Jamaican athletes, including Bolt’s teammate Yohan Blake, were banned in 2009 after failed dope tests. Riley, calling the continuous drug testing of their athletes as ‘unfortunate’, further said that although the country is not afraid of drug testing, it should be done randomly instead of targeting a particular nation or certain individuals.

Friday 21, Jun 2013

Jamaica Plunged Into Major Drugs Scandal

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Jamaica, the home of Usain Bolt, has been plunged into a major drugs scandal after two of its top female athletes failed dope tests.

It was after World 200m champion, Veronica Campbell-Brown, tested positive for a banned diuretic. A few days back, 400m runner Dominique Blake lost her appeal against a six-year ban for a second doping offense.

Five Jamaican athletes were banned in 2009 for drugs offenses, among them Yohan Blake, the current world 100m champion, who was given a suspension of three months for testing positive for a substance he claimed was not on the banned list of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The 31-year-old Campbell-Brown is only the second woman to have won consecutive 200m Olympic gold medals and was a silver medalist at London 2012, where a total of 11 Jamaican female sprinters won medals in the 100m and 200m and the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays. The athlete was previously banned for nine months after ephedrine was found in her system in 2006. The 800m runner Ricardo Cunningham, who tested positive for the prohibited substance pseudoephedrine, escaped with only a reprimand.

Head coach David Riley said, “The continuous drug testing of our athletes is very unfortunate,” he said. “They are free to choose who they want to select [to test], but the whole thing did not look to be random, because our athletes were targeted.

“We are not afraid of drug-testing because we do drug-testing in Jamaica and the process is to find dishonest individuals. But we should do so randomly and not target a country or certain individuals.”