Jamaican drugs czar fears worst

The controversy surrounding Jamaica’s anti-doping programme has intensified after the country’s most senior drug tester claimed recent positive tests could be the “tip of the iceberg”.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is investigating the testing regime in the Caribbean island after claims the programme is inadequate, and visited Jamaica last week ahead of its annual congress in South Africa starting today

Now, Dr Paul Wright, the senior doping control officer with the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) has warned of possible deeper problems in the country’s sport following positive tests.

Former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell, Olympic relay gold medallist Sherone Simpson plus three others failed tests in June.

Wright said: “Testing positive in competition — what that means is months before you know the date of the test and the approximate time of the test. So if you fail an in-competition test you haven’t only failed a drugs test, you have failed an IQ test.

“This could be the tip of the iceberg to have so many positives coming in competition.

“What is going to convince me is if there is an out-of-competition test that’s unannounced, that includes blood testing and which tests for EPO. Then we can hold up our heads high and say that we know that there’s nothing.”

The head of the Jamaican Olympic Association, Mike Fennell, dismissed Wright’s claim saying he was “being dramatic”.

Since the WADA visit, Jamaica’s sports minister has promised to increase spending on anti-doping and appoint two more testers.

Jamaica point out that they have 19 of the world’s top athletes who are part of the IAAF’s elite pool and are tested regularly in and out of competition by the international governing body.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan government has announce it will set up an 11-strong anti-doping task force to look into the alarming surge in positive drugs tests among top-level athletes in the country.

WADA had expressed alarm that the country had failed to act on its request to investigate the cases — 17 Kenyan athletes have been suspended for doping violations since January 2012.


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