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?”

Usain Bolt to retire following 2016 Olympics

Usain Bolt6by Jodee Brown

Arguably the greatest sprinter in history, Usain Bolt has left an indelible mark on the sport with his talent, charisma, and a plethora of records along the way. The summer of 2016 will be the last chance for the world to see the Jamaican legend showcase his unique skill set.

On Wednesday morning, Bolt announced that he is set to retire following the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil. The six-time Olympic gold medalist and reigning world champion in the 100m and 200m signaled his intent to win gold at next year’sCommonwealth Games in Glasgow, the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing and the 2016 summer games before calling it quits from a spotlight that has shone on him since he made waves as a teenager.

“So far, it [retirement] is after the Olympics in Rio,”Bolt told the Associated Press ahead of his final race of the season in Belgium. “I think if I am in great shape, I’ll go there and do what I have to do. I think it will be a good time to retire on top.”

He continued, “If I want to be among the greats of [Muhammad] Ali and Pele and all these guys, I have to continue dominating until I retire.”

Bolt’s track record is impeccable as the now 27-year-old sprinter became the only man in Olympic history to win back to back gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4 by 100m relay respectively. After winning gold in all three events in last month’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, he became the most decorated runner in the event’s history, with eight gold and two silver medals.

He owns the world records in the 100m (9.58) and 200m (19.19), both which he broke in the 2009 world championships in Germany while helping the 4 by 100m relay shatter its own world record at last year’s summer games in London.

Before he goes out, Bolt hopes to top those marks once again, admitting that while the 100m remains the toughest mark to top, the 200m record is well within reach.

“I have learned, I have mastered the art of running the turn,” Bolt said of the 200. “So if I can stay injury-free and be in good shape, then it is possible for me to definitely go after the world record.”

Aidonia records Usain Bolt tribute song

Usain Bolt6by Jodee Brown

With today marking the 27th birthday of legendary Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, Dancehall star, Aidoniahas given the six-time Olympic champion a gift in song after releasing a tribute song in his honor with a special remix of his hit single, Run Road.

The tribute, which features his Jag One Productions(J.O.P) protégé, Deablo was recorded the night prior to Bolt’s defense of his 200m title at the IAAF World Championships in Russia on Saturday. Additionally, Bolt rebounded from his false start during the 100m at the 2011 edition of the world championships to take gold in that event last week while helping the 4 by 100m relay team retain their title.

Aidonia, who says he has developed a good friendship with Bolt, spoke of how the tribute came about. He told the Jamaica STAR“It was a no-brainer; when we got in studio, there were so many adjectives to describe Usain Bolt. He is the boss of track and field, the most naturally gifted and the greatest the world has ever seen.”

He continued, “In 2008, I recorded a song called Bolt Action, so is from long time the respect is there. Give thanks that my publicist got the Run Road tribute to him in time before his race and him let the world know that he appreciated it. I also want to big up all our athletes cause dem mek wi proud as an island. Nuff love goes out.”

Bolt won the 200m with a time of 19.66 seconds, with teammate Warren Weir taking silver and Mikael Ashmeade finishing fourth. He then shouted out the J.O.Pcrew in his post-race interview with BBC for their efforts.

“Usain Bolt loves music,” said Keona Williams,Aidonia’s publicist. “Run Road is one of his favourite dancehall songs he always uses the term ‘run road’ in his conversations and so as a team, we came together and said we should do this tribute for him because he would very much appreciate it, which he did.”

On Tuesday night, Aidonia held a tribute night to Bolt and all of Jamaica’s athletes at the QUAD Nightclubin New Kingston, where they had a toast for Bolt at midnight.