Jamaica’s anti-doping agency must “get its house in order” after out-of-competition testing all but stopped ahead of last year’s Olympic Games, former executive director Renee Anne Shirley said. The World Anti-Doping Agency said it will investigate the matter.
Sprinter Usain Bolt led the Jamaican team at the London games, winning three golds in its 12-medal haul. The only person the national agency drug-tested away from races in the five months before the Olympics was a male athlete who came out of retirement and needed to produce a sample before resuming competition, Shirley said by telephone, without identifying him.
WADA said in a statement yesterday that it previously expressed its concern after similar comments made by Shirley in August about the Jamaican agency, whose acronym is JADCO.
“Since then, WADA has accepted an invitation from the Prime Minister of Jamaica to visit and inspect JADCO,” the Montreal-based agency said.
Shirley said yesterday that she ended a seven-month stint as JADCO’s executive director in February for personal and work reasons. On taking up the post, she said, she was told out-of-competition testing had come to a standstill because “300 or 400” kits to collect urine samples were out-of-date.
“The question is: was the slack taken up by other federations” including track and field’s IAAF, Shirley said. “I don’t think there was a cover-up, but Jamaica’s performance since the Beijing Olympics in 2008 has been exceptional and you can’t say it’s down to yam, or it’s the water. You have to investigate.”
Bolt was tested more than 12 times last year by the IAAF, the Associated Press said when it reported the WADA probe earlier yesterday. The first five finishers in every event at the London games were tested under the International Olympic Committee’s anti-doping program.
Bolt said July 25 that he’s “clean” and that positive tests this year by athletes including the U.S.’s Tyson Gay and Jamaican pair Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell were a setback for the sport. All three deny doping.
IAAF officials didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment about its testing in Jamaica. JADCO Chairman Herbert Elliott didn’t immediately return a call and e-mail seeking a comment for this story.
WADA said it was “unhappy” that its visit to Jamaica can’t take place until 2014. The Jamaican government said on its website today that JADCO had proposed that the visit take place in January because it has commitments in November and December, including the hearings of three of five athletes who have had “adverse” drug-test readings.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller added that she welcomes WADA’s help.
“We are happy for all the technical support WADA and the IAAF have provided and continue to provide in order that our systems will become first rate,” Simpson Miller said.
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