WADA probes Jamaica’s drug testing agency over alleged gaps prior to London 2012

The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating alleged inconsistencies in Jamaica's anti-doping policy prior to the London 2012 games, which saw Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce retain their 100m titles.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating alleged inconsistencies in Jamaica’s anti-doping policy prior to the London 2012 games, which saw Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce retain their 100m titles.

by Jodee Brown

Jamaica’s drug-testing agency, the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) is now facing an investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency(WADA) over alleged loopholes and a lack of policing of its athletes prior to the 2012 Olympics in London, according to reports Monday.

The Associated Press reports that WADA is conducting an audit of JADCO after data revealed to the Jamaica Gleaner by JADCO’s former director,Anne Shirley indicating that little to no out-of-competition testing of Jamaica’s athletes took place in the seven months prior to the summer games in July and August of last year. According to Shirley’s data, there were 96 tests administered during Jamaica’s national trials and a local invitational meet in May and June of that year. However, Shirley insisted that no testing took place for five of the seven months leading up to the London games.

Additionally, Shirley’s figures revealed that, aside from 10 out-of-competition test administered in February and one in April of 2012, JADCO’s out-of-competition program stopped. These figures were then published in a Sports Illustrated article this past summer, driving worldwide attention to the issue and triggering talk of a possible expulsion of Jamaica from the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro should any damning findings regarding Jamaica’s anti-doping policies be found.

WADA Director General, David Howman told the Associated Press that the agency was kept out of the loop regarding Jamaica’s alleged lapses in its drug-testing policy.

“There was a period of — and forgive me if I don’t have the number of months right — but maybe five to six months during the beginning part of 2012 where there was no effective operation,” he said. “There might have been one or two, but there was no testing. So we were worried about it, obviously.”

Howman admitted that this is an ‘extraordinary’ audit, with Jamaica being a ‘high priority’ because of these findings.

Shirley said the findings were alarming, telling the AP“It irritated me as a Jamaican: one test out of competition, for what, five months or four months? Given that it was an Olympic year, I felt that more could have been done.”

JADCO chairman, Herbert Elliott blasted Shirley in a response to the AP, branding her as a ‘Judas’ and ‘demented’ while rubbishing the data she collected. He admitted that JADCO could not accommodate auditors from WADA at a date they originally set and does not expect such a visit before the end of 2013.

Howman says that excuse hasn’t sit well with WADA.

“It doesn’t over-impress us,” he told the AP“If there’s going to be that sort of delay, you need to have a better reason.”

International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical officials also revealed that they weren’t made aware of these alleged gaps until Shirley’s data was revealed. Though they admit they would have ordered additional tests on Jamaican athletes had they known about this data sooner, IOC’s medical commission chairman, Arne Ljungvist intimated that it would be unfair to pinpoint Jamaica’s drug-testing issues given their high status and reputation within the track world.

“Jamaica is far from being alone, you know?” she said. “We know that out-of-competition testing in the proper way is not being conducted unfortunately in many parts of the world. One shouldn’t single out Jamaica.”

Jamaica’s high-level performances at the last two Olympics, including nine gold medals and three world records (all involving sprint legend, Usain Bolt) has garnered them worldwide attention, thus making WADA’s probe that much more critical as Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and others aim to defend their sprint titles at the 2016 summer games in Brazil.

“It’s almost abnormal, OK? Let’s face it. For a country of less than three million people,” she said.“What, you’re saying there’s something peculiar in the water in Jamaica?”

VCB receives warning for failed drug test, cleared to compete

Veronica Campbell-Brown, a multiple Olympic gold medalist and world champion has been cleared to resume competition after receiving a public warning for her failed drug test in May..

Veronica Campbell-Brown, a multiple Olympic gold medalist and world champion has been cleared to resume competition after receiving a public warning for her failed drug test in May..

by Jodee Brown

Three-time Olympic gold medalist, Veronica Campbell-Brown has earned a reprieve following her failed drug test in May after being handed a public warning by a Jamaican anti-doping disciplinary panel during a hearing Wednesday evening.

The panel determined that Campbell-Brown did not use the banned substance, furosemide for performance enhancement. The diuretic, often labeled as Lasix,triggered an adverse analytical finding during a drug test at the Jamaica International Invitational in May.

However, it was reported shortly after the failed test was revealed in June that Campbell-Brown had declared the substance and notified the proper authorities prior to the test, claiming she had used it for medical reasons.

The disciplinary panel said during its decision that the offence in question was not serious given the extenuating circumstances and that a public warning was the logical decision.

The ruling will now be sent to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), track and field’s international governing body.

This news contrasts reports early this summer that Campbell-Brown would likely receive a six-month ban for the failed drug test.

Campbell-Brown won gold medals at the 200m and 4 by 100 women’s relay in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and retained her 200m title at Beijing 2008.

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.