Doping: Jamaica to come under scrutiny from WADA

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is planning a special visit to Jamaica next year following concerns over the Caribbean island’s anti-doping programmes.

Jamaicas Asafa Powell only recently tested positive. Picture: Getty

“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 last night.

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 prior to the 2012 London Olympics, where Jamaican sprinters were dominant. Former world 100 metres record holder Asafa Powell, twice 200 metres Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and London Games 4x100 relay silver medallist Sherone Simpson, have all tested positive for banned substances recently.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

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,” said Elliott.

The sport’s world governing body said it was not concerned about the WADA visit or the testing of Jamaican athletes, including six-times Olympic champion and double sprint world record holder Usain Bolt, who has never failed a doping test. “It is abundantly clear that the testing of Jamaican athletes before London was extensive and thorough – and continues to be so today,” said International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) spokesman Chris Turner.

Turner said in 2012 that 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, with 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 – “a robust and comprehensive programme which concentrated on training camps and accounted for every top international athlete from that country.”

Meanwhile, the Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping prosecutor requested a life ban for former Giro d’Italia winner Danilo Di Luca following the cyclist’s third offence of his career.

Prosecutor Tammaro Maiello issued the request and the case will now be decided by CONI’s anti-doping court. The 37-year-old Di Luca tested positive for the blood booster EPO in a surprise test in April, five days before this year’s Giro. After a hearing with the prosecutor last month, Di Luca did not deny doping, saying that the case “doesn’t change much” for his fans.

The Vini Fantini-Selle Italia squad fired Di Luca immediately after the positive test was announced with the Giro nearly finished. In 2009, Di Luca was given a two-year ban after testing positive during the Giro for CERA, an advanced form of EPO. And after winning the 2007 Giro, Di Luca was banned for three months later in the year for frequent visits to Carlo Santuccione, a physician at the centre of a four-year doping investigation titled Oil for Drugs.