Jamaica Facing Doping Probe

Jamaica Facing Doping ProbeThe World Anti-Doping Agency is introducing an "extraordinary" audit of the drug-testing agency of Jamaica after allegations that policing of the sprinting superstars of the island collapsed in the months before they dazzled at the London Games.

WADA decided to initiate this probe after the former executive director of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission revealed data to the oldest newspaper of the Caribbean that indicated a near complete breakdown in JADCO's out-of-competition testing from January 2012 to the July opening of the Olympics. JADCO chairman Herbert Elliott dismissed the figures presented by Renee Anne Shirley as lies but WADA confirmed as Shirley asserted that there was a significant gap of no testing by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) as athletes trained in the months ahead of the London Olympic Games and it is concerned enough to investigate.

Elliott, the JADCO chairman, said Shirley has done this country and herself a great deal of harm by saying things that are not totally in keeping with the truth. The JADCO chairman also said their agency cannot accommodate the auditors at the date WADA wanted and now is not expecting the visit before the end of the year. Elliott added 400 of its testing kits were out of date and therefore unusable when he was named JADCO chairman and he cited the biggest obstacle to out-of-competition testing was that most of our athletes were off the island and we had them overseas preparing for the Olympics. Elliott added that some of our athletes were raising hell that they were tested every day, and not only with urine, but blood and they were testing every athlete in our camp, sometimes twice a day.

In her August letter to The Gleaner, Shirley revealed about Jamaican testing lapses and International Olympic Committee medical chiefs, WADA, and Britain's anti-doping agency said they were kept in the dark about these lapses. It was asserted by Shirley that the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission conducted 96 tests in competition in 2012 before the Olympics, all in May and June at an invitational meet and the national trials but there was no Jamaican testing away from the competitive events for five of the seven months before the opening of the Games.

In an interview, WADA Director General David Howman said that there was a period of may be five to six months during the beginning part of 2012 where there was no effective operation by JADCO and there might have been one or two, but there was no testing and so we were worried about it. The World Anti-Doping Agency also expressed dismay that Jamaica has not agreed to a quick inspection. Howman said the WADA team will check whether JADCO remains compliant with WADA's code of anti-doping rules. He added that this team will also find out which agency is testing and how, its budget, and that what they're doing is of significant quality.

IOC medical commission Chairman Arne Ljungqvist and Patrick Schamasch, who retired as IOC medical director after London Games, said they were not aware of the testing gaps. They remarked they could have ordered additional tests on the team of Jamaica had they known these facts beforehand.

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