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Ball dropped!

Anti-doping chief says JA must make changes

JOHANNESBURG – The World Anti-Doping Agency
has knocked Jamaica’s drug testing programme, saying the country had “dropped the ball”, and now needed to make major changes.

“It’s quite clear” the Caribbean island’s current testing is “not enough”, said WADA president John Fahey.

“We’ve given them significant assistance in the past. They dropped the ball.”

Seven Jamaican athletes, including Powell and two-time 200-meter Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, tested positive this year.

The WADA board will receive a report on Friday after a team visited the country in October.

“That report… contains key recommendations. They deal with governance, they deal with operations,” Fahey told a news conference at the World Conference on Doping in Sport here Tuesday.

“We have asked the Minister of Sport of Jamaica to send comments by the end of this week, as well as the president of the Jamaican anti-doping commission.”

One of the recommendations was for the island to partner with another country to get its doping agencies up to scratch, said Fahey.

“We have encouraged them to enter into an international partnership. We’ve found that’s been very effective in other areas in anti-doping,” he pointed out.

He declined to elaborate on other recommendations.

Fahey added: “There’s a recognition in Jamaica that they have to do a whole lot better and that they have to beef up their skills set.”

Jamaica’s athletics have been rocked this year with the positive tests by high profile athletes like Powell and Campbell-Brown, the latter of whom won bronze in the 100m at the London Olympics last year.

Sprinter Sherone Simpson, a 100m silver medallist at the Beijing Olympics and in the sprint relay in London, also tested positive for a banned stimulant this year along with discus throwers Allison Randall and Travis Smikle.

With Jamaican sprinters, led by the now legendary Usain Bolt dominating the world stage, the positive tests have put the country squarely under the spotlight.

World sports leaders meet over four days at the fourth anti-doping conference to decide the future of the battle against the use of banned substances.

The conference will ratify new, more stringent anti-doping rules and also fine-tune testing according to different sporting codes. (Sport24/KP)


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