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SBD Global/October 15, 2013/Olympics

WADA Launches 'Extraordinary' Audit Of Jamaica's Drug Testing Prior To 2012 Olympics

Jamaica's Asafa Powell reacts after the men's 100m final at the 2012 Olympics.
The World Anti-Doping Agency is "launching an 'extraordinary' audit of Jamaica's drug-testing agency following allegations that its policing of the island's sprinting superstars led by Usain Bolt all but collapsed in the months before they dazzled at the London Games," according to John Leicester of the London INDEPENDENT. WADA's probe "follows data the former executive director of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission revealed to the Caribbean's oldest newspaper indicating a near complete breakdown in JADCO's out-of-competition testing" from Jan. '12 to the "July opening of the Olympics." JADCO Chair Herbert Elliott dismissed former Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission Exec Dir Renee Anne Shirley's figures as "lies and described her as 'a bit demented' and 'a Judas.'" WADA, however, "tells a different story:" WADA confirmed that there was, as Shirley asserted, "a significant gap of no testing" by JADCO as "athletes trained in the months ahead of the Games -- and that it is concerned enough to investigate." It is not "possible to judge with any certainty whether the gaps in Jamaica's testing might have opened a door to cheating, particularly because other agencies involved refuse to give a complete picture of exactly how many tests they conducted on the Jamaicans" in '12. The Shirley revelations, however, "have been alarming enough to prompt action: while WADA has audited Jamaica's testing regime in the past," WADA Dir General David Howman said its new trip is in direct response to "the problems Shirley exposed and the positive doping tests this year of five athletes who competed for Jamaica in London" (INDEPENDENT, 10/14).

IN THE DARK: The JAMAICA GLEANER reported IOC medical officials, WADA and Britain's anti-doping agency, which also "worked on London's huge drug-testing" program, revealed that "they were kept in the dark about the Jamaican testing lapses that Shirley exposed in an August letter." Howman: "There was a period of, and forgive me if I don't have the number of months right, but maybe five to six months during the beginning part of 2012 where there was no effective operation. No testing." WADA is "unhappy that Jamaica has not agreed to a swift inspection." Elliott said JADCO "could not accommodate the auditors at the date WADA wanted and was not expecting the visit before the end of the year." Howman said, "It doesn't over-impress us. If there's going to be that sort of delay, you need to have a better reason" (JAMAICA GLEANER, 10/14).
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