Entire Jamaican anti-doping board resigns amid controversy over failed drug tests

Move comes as former senior Jamaican official claimed only one drug test was carried out on Jamaican athletes in months before London 2012

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The entire board of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (Jadco) has resigned amid questions about drug testing on the island.

The country’s sports minister, Natalie Neita Headley, said in a statement on Friday: “The commissioners have taken a decision, in the national interest and in order to facilitate the re-structuring of Jadco, to tender their resignations which will take effect on December 31, 2013.”

She told reporters that Jamaica would review its anti-doping legislation and appoint qualified testing officers.

The commission has been under fire since former senior Jadco official Renee Anne Shirley claimed in August the authority had only carried out one out-of-competition test from February 2012 to the start of the London Olympics in July of last year.

Three high-ranking officials of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) last month visited Jamaica to audit the country's anti-doping programmes following positive tests from several high-profile athletes.

Former world 100 metres record holder Asafa Powell, twice 200m Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and London Games 4x100m relay silver medalist Sherone Simpson have all failed tests this year.

Outgoing Wada president John Fahey had suggested the Caribbean nation could face severe penalties if they were declared non-compliant with the Wada code.

Ms Headley however said: “At no time has Wada ever deemed Jamaica or Jadco to be non-compliant. At no time has Wada threatened to bar Jamaica or Jamaican athletes from participating in any international event - Olympic Games, World Championship or the like.”

The Office of the Jamaican Prime Minister has commenced a review of the current anti-doping laws with a view of strengthening the act, ensuring it is in keeping with best practices and the Wada Code, she added.

Triple world champion Usain Bolt said last week rumours that Jamaica may not be eligible for the 2016 Olympics because of Wada penalties imposed on the whole country had cost him a potential sponsor.