Jamaica Risks Olympic Ban In Row Over Drug-Testing Inquiry
Jamaica is on the brink of being cast into the int'l wilderness Sunday night after the World Anti-Doping Agency "vowed to take action that could mean the island is deemed non-compliant with its drug-testing responsibilities," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. WADA President John Fahey "delivered a withering rebuke to Jamaica over its 'farcical' attempts to defer an extraordinary audit of its anti-doping programme until the new year." WADA Dir General David Howman "had planned to lead a commission to Jamaica after being invited by the island’s prime minister to investigate revelations from the former executive director of the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission that it conducted no drug tests in the five months leading up to last year’s Olympics." JADCO’s "refusal to accommodate the commission during the remainder of 2013 infuriated Fahey," who Sunday night promised an "appropriate" response, with non-compliance with the WADA Code the ultimate sanction. That "could have dire consequences for Jamaica's world-class athletes including Usain Bolt and company, who may be barred from competing at athletics’ biggest events -- including the Olympics -- until the row is resolved." Fahey said, "The current position is unacceptable to WADA and we’re not going to take it lying down, their suggestion that they’ll talk to us next year" (TELEGRAPH, 10/21).
OPTIONS OPEN: REUTERS' Ian Ransom reported Fahey "stopped short of threatening sanctions but said there were 'a number of options' open to WADA." The "most severe would be to declare Jamaica 'non-compliant' with the WADA code," which would pave the way for global sports bodies like the IOC or int'l federations to impose punitive measures. Only WADA code-compliant sports "can participate in the Olympic Games." JADCO was "not immediately available for comment" (REUTERS, 10/21).
JAMAICA HITS BACK: In London, Rick Broadbent reported the governing body of Jamaican athletics "has poured scorn on claims that the country’s athletes could be thrown out of the Olympic Games." Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association President Dr. Warren Blake said, “I don’t think it’s a possibility at all. What would London have been without Jamaica? What would 2012 have been without our athletes? It’s not going to happen” (LONDON TIMES, 10/23).