Jamaican failed tests are tip of the iceberg, says doping chief

Frank Dalleres
Follow Frank
A TOP Jamaican anti-doping official believes the country’s athletics scene could have a far bigger problem with drugs than is currently acknowledged.

Dr Paul Wright’s comments come at the end of a difficult year for Jamaican track and field in which former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell and Olympic relay gold medallist Sherone Simpson have failed tests, which they blamed on contaminated substances.

World Anti-Doping chiefs are probing claims that the country’s athletes are tested too infrequently, while concerns were exacerbated in June following a spate of failed tests at the national trials.

“The results are not good. This year alone the results really point the finger,” said Dr Wright, a senior officer at the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (Jadco).

“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 unannounced that includes blood testing and [blood booster] EPO. Then we can hold up our heads high and say we know there’s nothing.”

Jamaica Olympic Association president Mike Fennell rejected Dr Wright’s claims. “There’s no evidence to suggest that it’s the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “I think that’s massively overstating it.”

Jadco is to increase the number of tests it carries out from 300 to 400 from next year.