Caribbean athletes get clean report cards at World Championships

Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce and other Caribbean athletes who saw action at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow were clean.
Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce and other Caribbean athletes who saw action at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow were clean.

No regional athlete who competed at the recently concluded World Championships in Russia has been found to have cheated.

But the Games were far from clean.

The International Association of Athletics Federations today announced that seven athletes failed drug tests at the August event with Roman Avramenko of Ukraine, who finished fifth in the men’s javelin, being the only one of the seven to reach a final at the event in Moscow. The IAAF revealed that all seven athletes had been sanctioned or provisionally suspended.

The IAAF had promised a stringent testing programme in Moscow after a recent series of high-profile doping cases.

Former world champion Tyson Gay and ex-100m world record holder Asafa Powell both tested positive for banned substances ahead of the championships. Both missed the Games as a result. Their doping positives were made public in July, a month after it was announced that Veronica Campbell-Brown, 200m champion at London 2012, had tested positive for a banned diuretic – something which is viewed as a masking agent by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Gay’s training partner, Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste, who was to have raced in Moscow over 100, 200 and the 4×100 metres, left Moscow on the first day of competition over a failed a doping test. Compatriot Semoy Hackett also withdrew from the championships pending the result of a drug test she failed in 2012 at a US college championships meet.

During the World Championships the 25-year-old Avramenko recorded a personal best throw of 84.48 in June before competing in Moscow, Vítezslav Vesely of the Czech Republic won the gold medal. Avramenko tested positive for the steroid dehydrochloromethyltestosterone.

The other athletes found to have tested positive at the World Championships wereMassoud Azizi (Afghanistan, men’s 100m), Elyzaveta Bryzgina (Ukraine, women’s 200m), Ayman Kozhakhmetova (Kazakhstan, women’s 20km walk), Ebrahim Rahimian (Iran, men’s 20km walk), Yelena Ryabova (Turkmenistan, women’s 200m) and Jeremías Saloj (Guatemala, men’s marathon).

The IAAF said that in addition to taking urine tests from 538 athletes in Moscow, 1,919 blood samples were collected as part of its Athlete Biological Passport programme, designed to detect abnormalities in an athlete over time.

The president of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, said: “The specialised analyses and the blood samples taken in connection with the Athlete Biological Passport emphasise the IAAF’s firm commitment and resolve to use the most sophisticated methods at our disposal in the fight against cheating in sport.”

The testing results come as good news for Caribbean athletes.

This week Jamaica’s Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce complained that during the World Championships she had been accused by other athletes of taking performance enhancing drugs on account of her excellent performances where she won three gold medals. The Jamaican “pocket rocket” said some athletes even made the accusation to her face.

“Some thought I was on drugs to have done what I did. I don’t know why. So the reaction was mixed. I didn’t get any fancy hurrah. Well, some persons thought, oh, it was nice and it was good, but the majority of athletes had their negative comments,” Fraser-Pryce said.

Fraser-Pryce, like compatriot Usain Bolt, swept 100 metro, 200 mere and 4?100-metre relay gold medals at last month’s World Championships

Fraser-Pryce served a six-month suspension in 2010-11 for testing positive for oxycodone. She said at the time that it was due to medication she took for a toothache. Oxycodone is a banned narcotic but is not considered a performance-enhancing drug or a masking agent.

Barbados was represented at this year’s World Championships by Ramon Gittens, Andrew Hinds, Ryan Brathwaite, Greggmar Swift, Shane Brathwaite, Levi Cadogan, Ackeem Forde, Nijel Amos, Sade Sealy and Kierre Beckles. None made it to the final of their respective events. (WG/BBC)

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