söndag 26 juli 2009

Italian newspaper names Jamaican dopers

An Italian newspaper has named the five Jamaican athletes, among them a promising young training partner of three-time world record holder Usain Bolt, who failed recent doping tests, calling into question their eligibility for the upcoming World Championships. Gazzetta dello Sport reported this morning that athletes involved are Yohan Blake, the 19-year-old training partner of Bolt, 200m runner Marvin Anderson, Commonwealth Games 100m champion Sheri-Ann Brooks, and 400m runners Allodin Fothergill and Lanceford Spence. Of the names on that list, the first three are the most prominent. In his last two races, Blake has finished second to Bolt in the 100m, at both the Aviva London Grand Prix on Friday and at the Areva Golden League Meeting in Paris on July 17. Blake’s time of 9.93 seconds in Paris, a personal best, ranks as the fifth fastest in the world this season.
Blake, along with Anderson, figure prominently in Jamaica’s 4x100m relay pool. Led by Bolt and Asafa Powell, Jamaica won gold at the Beijing Olympics last summer in a world-record 37.10 seconds. Brooks was a member of the Jamaican women’s 4x100m squad in Beijing. All five athletes were selected to Jamaica’s team for the World Championships in Berlin August 15-23. On Friday, the Jamaican Amateur Athletics Federation, the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission, and the International Amateur Athletics Federation all confirmed the positive tests but stated that it was too early in the process to reveal the names of the athletes under suspicion or the substances involved. According to the Jamaica Gleaner, a release sent by Oliver Watt, the Director of Communications in the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture, states that of the 43 tests taken at the Jamaican National Championships last month, five revealed “adverse analytical findings.”
While declining to name the substance that resulted in the positive tests, Dr. Herb Elliott, a member of both the IAAF’s Medical and Anti-Doping Commission as well as JADCO, told the Jamaica Gleaner. “I can assure you it wasn’t any major stuff.”
A Reuters source seemed to confirm that notion.
"It's frightening, but all five tested positive for the same drug, although the five trained almost under different circumstances," the official said. "I can tell you that none of the world stars are involved. The drug itself is not an anabolic steroid and is considered a minor drug, meaning that with a good explanation at a hearing, the athlete could get off with a reprimand."
Elliott added that when all of the athletes were officially informed of the test results, a hearing would be held and a request made for the B sample to be tested. That hearing could come as soon as this week. According to JAAA regulations, no sanctions can be levied against the athletes until after that hearing and the possible testing of the B sample.
While often criticized for being slack, Jamaica’s anti-doping stance has been one of zero tolerance. Last July, sprinter Julien Dunkley was dropped from Jamaica's Olympic team and banned for two years after his urine sample turned up with traces of the banned substance Boldenone. Dunkley, who maintains his innocence, would have been part of the gold-medal-winning 4x100m relay squad.
Glen Mills, who coaches Bolt, Blake and Anderson at the Racers Track Club, told The Guardian of London earlier this year that Jamaicans are proud of their track and field reputation and do not take blights lightly.
"Jamaica does not have a drug culture,” Mills said. “We have never had an athlete who has had his entire athletic life in Jamaica have any kind of drug problem. That's just not us. We take our athletics very seriously. The nation at large would be very hurt, and very hard on anybody who would bring their fun into disrepute and the athletes know that. Here we hate cheats.
"Who wants to think what they want will. We can't stop them from saying but we're willing to be tested every day and every minute of the day because we are just training and we've got nothing to hide. You only worry when you've got something to hide."
After winning the 100m at the Aviva London Grand Prix on Friday, Bolt told the BBC that he was saddened by the positive tests but said, "I'm sure it's not me so I'm not really worried."
Powell, who finished sixth in that race, shared the same sentiment.
"It's their bad luck, it's not for me to worry about, and it doesn't affect me one bit,” Powell told reporters. “People might be saying bad stuff now but it doesn't really bother me."

Sat Jul 25, 2009 By Joe Battaglia / Universal Sports

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