Bolt, Fraser-Pryce snag IAAF Athlete of the Year honors

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (left) and Usain Bolt (right) accept their 2013 IAAF World Athlete of the Year awards at a gala in Monaco on Saturday.. Associated Press (AP)

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (left) and Usain Bolt (right) accept their 2013 IAAF World Athlete of the Year awards at a gala in Monaco on Saturday.. Associated Press (AP)

by Jodee Brown

Jamaica can now lay claim to being only the third country ever to sweep IAAF Athlete of the Year honors after Olympic legends, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Prycetook home the male and female titles respectively at a gala on Saturday in Monaco.

Neither athlete winning was a shock in truth as both left their marks on the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, with both winning the 100m and 200m titles as well as anchoring Jamaica to gold in the 4 by 100 relays. Bolt beat out British long distance Olympic champion,Mohamed Farah and Ukranian high jumper, Bohdan Bondarenko on the men’s side while Fraser-Pryce beat New Zealand’s world champion shot-putter, Valerie Adams and the Czech Republic’s 400m queen, Zuzana Hejnova.

While Bolt’s victory continued his stellar run of consecutive athlete of the year triumphs (five in the last six year – exception being 2010), the win for Fraser-Prycebroke a 23 year drought for Jamaican women in relation to the award, being the first since legendary sprinter, Merlene Ottey to do so. The win comes after Fraser-Pryce was surprisingly left off the shortlist last year despite retaining her 100m title at last year’s Olympics in London.

Prior to Jamaica’s sweep this year, only the United States in 1988 (Carl Lewis and Florence Griffith-Joyner) and the United Kingdom in 1993 (Colin Jackson and Sam Gunnell).

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce named finalist for IAAF World Athlete of the Year

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will contend for Jamaica's first female IAAF World Athlete of the Year honor in 23 years later this month.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will contend for Jamaica’s first female IAAF World Athlete of the Year honor in 23 years later this month.

by Jodee Brown

As expected, two time Olympic 100m gold medalist and Jamaican sprinting queen, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been named as one of three finalists for the prestigious IAAF World Female Athlete of the Yearaward, set to be handed out later this month in Monaco.

Fraser-Pryce will contend against world champion New Zealand shot-putter, Valerie Adams and Zuzana Hejnova, the reigning 400m hurdles world champion from the Czech Republic. Fraser-Pryce was nominated for the World Athlete of the Year honor after winning gold in both the 100m and 200m at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow this past summer. She also anchored Jamaica’s dominant victory in the women’s 4 by 100m relay at the same event and is the winningest female runner on the track circuit this year.

Should Fraser-Pryce walk away with the distinguished honor, she will be the first Jamaican runner to win it since the legendary Merlene Ottey copped the award in 1990.

Fraser-Pryce’s compatriot and fellow Olympic gold medalist, Usain Bolt faces off against elite British long-distance runner, Mohamed Farah and Ukranian high jumper, Bohdan Bondarenko for the men’s version of the Athlete of the Year honor.

The winners for both awards will be announced at a ceremony on November 16.

Usain Bolt named finalist for IAAF World Athlete of the Year

Multiple Olympic gold medalist and world champion, Usain Bolt has been named as a finalist for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award..

Multiple Olympic gold medalist and world champion, Usain Bolt has been named as a finalist for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award..

by Jodee Brown

Jamaican sprinting legend, Usain Bolt has once again been nominated for the IAAF’s World Athlete of the Year award, set to be awarded on November 16 in Monaco.

On Monday, the world’s governing athletics bodyannounced the three male finalists for the award, which included Bolt, a six-time Olympic gold medalist, as well as British long-distance runner, Mohamed Farahand Ukranian high jumper, Bohdan Bondarenko.

The men were selected after a month-long process involving the World Athletics Family. Female nominees for the same award will be announced on Tuesday.

Bolt, who completed the sprint double and helped retain Jamaica’s 4 by 100m relay title at this past summer’sIAAF World Championships in Moscow, has won theIAAF World Athlete of the Year the last two years and four of the last five, with 2010 being his only near miss, losing out to Kenyan 800m maestro, David Rudisha.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who also achieved the sprint double at the worlds, is on a shortlist for the femaleWorld Athlete of the Year. No Jamaican female athlete has won this honor since Merlene Ottey copped it in 1990.

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?”

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce says many athletes accused her of drug use at Worlds

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, pictured here after retaining his 100m title at the 2012 summer games in London, says she was faced with accusations of drug use during the world championships in Moscow last month..

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, pictured here after retaining his 100m title at the 2012 summer games in London, says she was faced with accusations of drug use during the world championships in Moscow last month..

by Jodee Brown

After a world class after at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow last month, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has once again pronounced herself as one of the track and field’s all-time dominant performers.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist became the first woman to win the 100m, 200m and 4 by 100m at a world championships. She also had to overcome hurdles in her races to glory, only these hurdles came in the form of criticism and skepticism from her competitors, who she says accused her of doping during the event.

“Some thought I was on drugs for me to have done what I did. I don’t know why,” said Fraser-Pryce during a scholarship presentation on behalf of her Pocket Rocket Foundation at Devon House in Kingston. She presentedseven scholarships to high school students from across the country, donating more JA$700,000 to help with their education.

“I hear people say things and ask questions and how can I do that (win three medals) and how I can have such a long season and still go at the end of the season and run so fast,” she continued regarding the accusations. “I didn’t get any fancy hurrah. Some persons thought it was nice and it was good, but (the) majority of the athletes had their negative comments.”

Despite the doubts, some of which were expressed face-to-face, Fraser-Pryce insisted she was not fazed by their accusations, pointing out her consistency since bursting onto the scene at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

“I’ve run 10.7 from 2008. I have not done anything that nobody else has ever done before, apart from winning three gold medals, but it was just hard work,” she said. “The times were not ridiculous; it was just very good execution. I am a very good starter.”

Jamaican sprinters have come under fire throughout the summer since three-time Olympic gold medalist,Veronica Campbell-Brown returned an adverse analytical finding at an invitational meet in May, testing positive for a banned diuretic. Additionally, former Olympic gold medalists, Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson tested positive for banned stimulants in July.

Fraser-Pryce won the 100m event at the worlds in 10.71 secsthe 200m in 22.17 and strongly anchored the Jamaica 4 by 100m women’s relay team to gold.

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.