All eyes on lo­cal anti-dop­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - TUESDAY SPORTS -

JA­SON LIVERMORE is a dec­o­rated Ja­maican track star. He has rep­re­sented us in track and field at the World Re­lays and the Com­mon­wealth Games. He has won a re­lay gold medal at the Com­mon­wealth Games and an in­di­vid­ual bronze medal in his pet event, the 200m sprint.

Ja­son Livermore has tested pos­i­tive for an an­abolic steroid, Mestorolone, and a fe­male fer­til­ity agent, Clomiphene. He faced an in­de­pen­dent Dis­ci­plinary\ Tri­bunal of the Ja­maica Anti-Dop­ing Com­mis­sion (JADCO) and was found guilty. His pun­ish­ment: banned from the sport for two years. An­other blot on the sport (track and field) that has made this is­land na­tion the envy of the sport­ing world.

We, Ja­maica, are known as the sprint cap­i­tal of the world and the home of the great­est track and field ath­lete of our gen­er­a­tion: Usain St Leo Bolt.

At his hear­ing on Septem­ber 11 of this year, Livermore told the panel that he was tak­ing med­i­ca­tion pre­scribed by his med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner for what he de­scribed as a “life-threat­en­ing prob­lem”. His doc­tor con­firmed to the panel that he had pre­scribed the med­i­ca­tion for the ath­lete, while seem­ingly obliv­i­ous to the im­pli­ca­tions of a drug test re­sult that a na­tional “trea­sure” could face if tested while on the med­i­ca­tion.

As­ton­ish­ingly, Mr Livermore stated un­der oath that he had never heard of a ther­a­peu­tic-use ex­emp­tion (TUE), which can be ap­plied for by ath­letes who are tak­ing pre­scribed med­i­ca­tion for con­di­tions that are “life threat­en­ing. I have writ­ten be­fore about the non­cha­lance of Ja­maican ath­letes when con­tem­plat­ing tak­ing med­i­ca­tion and/or sup­ple­ments while in the cross hairs of an­ti­dop­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Ja­son Livermore was in the JADCO test­ing pool, sub­ject to unan­nounced ran­dom drug

test­ing in or out of com­pe­ti­tion, in or out of the dates listed by him on his where­abouts in­for­ma­tion. I do be­lieve and ad­vo­cate that ALL ath­letes se­lected to rep­re­sent this “lit­tle but tallawah” is­land na­tion in sports MUST have at­tended at least two JADCO, or­gan­ised and sanc­tioned anti-dop­ing sem­i­nars in or­der to be el­i­gi­ble for se­lec­tion. The world at large does not look kindly at ath­letes who are caught us­ing an­abolic steroids. These drugs en­hance per­for­mance and are known to have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on per­for­mance long af­ter use and long af­ter the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing outed as a cheat.

RUDDERLESS AGENCY

At present, we have a rudderless anti-dop­ing agency still search­ing for an ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, while in­volved in a le­gal bat­tle with the one the agency is try­ing to re­move from its of­fices. The sport min­is­ter was last seen tes­ti­fy­ing about the good­ness and in­tegrity of her fam­ily physi­cian, while the na­tion’s anti-dop­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion (JADCO) is bum­bling and stum­bling un­der re­sourced and sub­ject to su­per­vi­sion by for­eign an­ti­dop­ing agen­cies.

Do ping in sports has reached cat­a­strophic pro­por­tions, and anti-dop­ing agen­cies world­wide have come in for what ap­pears to be a kind of foren­sic scru­tiny by cyn­i­cal fans who are re­galed reg­u­larly by whis­tle-blow­ers who give in­side in­for­ma­tion of cor­rup­tion by the very agen­cies that are man­dated to keep the sport clean. The World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) has not es­caped scan­dal, as has the IAAF. At present, WADA is un­der fire for drag­ging its feet in in­ves­ti­gat­ing the claim by a Chi­nese doc­tor, Xue Yinx­ian, who in 2012, re­ported that there is “sys­tem­atic dop­ing in elite sport” in China.

This in­for­ma­tion was brought to world at­ten­tion by a Ja­maican, whose track record in fight­ing for the in­tegrity of drug-free sport is the stuff of le­gends. Yet, here in Ja­maica, it seems as if any­one who has an in­ter­est in en­sur­ing that sports in Ja­maica, and in­deed the world, can stand up to the most foren­sic scru­tiny is side­lined and si­lenced. It is im­por­tant that the spon­sors and fans of sports be­lieve that the per­for­mances that we see, per­for­mances that are not only breath­tak­ing, but in­spir­ing, are not ac­tu­alised by cheats.

Ja­maicans de­serve a fully re­sourced and func­tion­ing anti-dop­ing agency, run by non-po­lit­i­cal ap­pointees with the knowl­edge and ex­per­tise in anti-dop­ing. It should not and can­not be used to en­able ex­ec­u­tives to “learn as they go”.

LIVERMORE

FILE

Alexan­der Wil­liams, chair­man of the Ja­maica Anti-Dop­ing Com­mis­sion.

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