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WADA plans visit to Jamaica

Updated: 2013-10-16 07:07
By Reuters ( China Daily)

The World Anti-Doping Agency is planning a special visit to Jamaica next year in the wake of concerns over the Caribbean nation's anti-doping programs.

"WADA has accepted an invitation from the Prime Minister of Jamaica to visit and inspect JADCO (the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission)," WADA said in a statement on Monday.

The visit follows comments by former JADCO executive director Renee Anne Shirley that there had been a significant gap in out-of-competition testing by JADCO in the months before the 2012 London Olympics, where Jamaican sprinters were dominant.

Former world 100m record holder Asafa Powell, two-time 200m Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and London Games 4x100 relay silver medalist Sherone Simpson have all tested positive for banned substances recently.

WADA had hoped to make the inspection this year but "was unhappy to learn that JADCO cannot accommodate this visit until 2014," the anti-doping agency said.

JADCO chairman Herb Elliott declined to comment on the visit.

"I will not speak on the matter until after I've spoken with (director general) David Howman of WADA", Elliott said.

The sport's world governing body said it was not concerned about the WADA visit or the testing of Jamaican athletes, including six-time Olympic champion and double sprint world record holder Usain Bolt who has never failed a test.

"It is abundantly clear that the testing of Jamaican athletes before London was extensive and thorough - and continues to be so today," International Association of Athletics Federations spokesman Chris Turner said in an e-mail to Reuters.

Turner said in 2012 Jamaica had 19 athletes in the IAAF registered testing pool (RTP) who were tested 126 times, an average of 6.63 tests for each athlete. By comparison, 43 US athletes in the 2012 pool were tested 222 times, an average of 5.16.

"Incidentally, Usain Bolt is one of the most tested athletes in the RTP and under the jurisdiction of the IAAF was tested over a dozen times in and out of competition in 2012," Turner said.

Including all tests under the IAAF's jurisdiction, 37 Jamaican athletes were tested out of competition by the IAAF in 2012, Turner said.

"It's a robust and comprehensive program which concentrated on training camps and accounted for every top international athlete from that country."

(China Daily 10/16/2013 page22)