Jamaica threatened with expulsion from 2016 Olympics over drug testing issues

jamaicaOlympics2by Jodee Brown

The World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA has issued a stern warning to one of track and field’s most prominent nations as Jamaica could face expulsion from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro if the local government fails to address inadequacies in its drug testing program.

British newspaper, the Telegraph reported Wednesdayevening that WADA’s general director, David Howmanhas urged Jamaica to look into is drug testing policy after explosive accusations by former Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) head, Anne Shirley that the island has not done enough to prevent drug use amongst its athletes.

In an article for Sports Illustrated, Shirley, who quit asJADCO president in February, accused Jamaican politicians and administrators of ignoring her constant warnings regarding the issue while claiming recent positive tests returned by Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson and others were a ‘disaster’ waiting to happen. Additionally, she revealed that JADCO only did one out-of-competition drug test in five months prior to last year’s Olympics in London, England.

Following these claims, Howman has threatened that should these issues not be resolved, WADA could deem JADCO non-compliant with its code of conduct, which could affect Jamaica’s participation in the 2016 summer games as well as other, upcoming track and field events.

“Our normal approach if we have issues falling into the category of either complaint or concern is to try to work with the particular signatory – in this case the Nada [national anti-doping agency] – and remedy it,”Howman said, according to the Telegraph. “If nothing happens, we can ask our board to declare any of the signatories non-compliant and that has implications as to whether teams from the country would be admitted into various events.”

He continued, “It’s serious. And I think that if responsible people in Jamaica are looking at it then they will address it. I would be disappointed if they didn’t. But, certainly, if there’s a lack of response then it’s something that we at WADA would want to take up with the Jamaican government.”

“We’ve worked closely with Jamaica for a number of years. I was down there a few years ago to try to look after issues we felt needed to be addressed and they were then addressed by the government of the day.”

“We knew that there was a spell in Jamaica where they didn’t have a CEO and there was a spell when they were not conducting testing and we didn’t know the reason for that. But that was certainly something that we became aware of.”

Howman also added that he has a very positive relationship with Jamaica’s prime minister and former sports minister, Portia Simpson-Miller and believes they can work towards a solution that will help strengthen the country’ drug policies and testing regiments.

The Jamaican track team is coming off a nine-medal haul at the recently concluded IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia. Double 100m Olympic champions, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce each walked away with three gold medals while the 4 by 400m team won silver, Warren Weir won silver in the 200m and Nesta Carter won bronze in the 100m.

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