Usain Bolt’s Jamaica team-mate Veronica Campbell-Brown fails drug test

Campbell-Brown, who has won seven Olympic medals, is one of two female runners facing bans

Jamaica, home of Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest human, has been plunged into a major drugs scandal after two of its top female athletes failed dope tests.

It was revealed yesterday that the world 200m champion, Veronica Campbell-Brown, has tested positive for a banned diuretic. Two days earlier the 400m runner Dominique Blake lost her appeal against a six-year ban for a second doping offence.

The shock development came in the wake of double Olympic champion Bolt’s stunning return to form in Oslo, where he recorded the fastest 200m time in the world this year.

In 2009 five Jamaican athletes were banned for drugs offences, among them Bolt’s rival and training partner Yohan Blake, the current world 100m champion, who was given a three-month suspension for testing positive for a substance he claimed was not on the banned list of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

Now the Caribbean island which has dominated world sprinting in recent years faces an unprecedented crisis in the sport.

Campbell-Brown, 31, is one of its biggest sporting heroines, bracketed with Bolt and Asafa Powell in superstar status. She is only the second woman to have won consecutive 200m Olympic gold medals and was a silver medallist at London 2012, where a total of 11 Jamaican female sprinters won medals in the 100m and 200m and the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays.

VCB, as she is known, has won a total of seven Olympic medals. A sample she gave at the Jamaica Invitational meet on 4 May tested positive for a diuretic which can act as a masking agent for performance-enhancing substances, and yesterday local media reported that the B sample result was confirmed.

The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) are expected to rule on the tests early this week.

Blake tested positive last year for methylhexaneamine, a stimulant that is commonly used as a nasal decongestant, and is banned in competition.

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (Jadco) banned Blake during Jamaica’s Olympic trials last June, when she finished sixth in the 400m.

She was previously banned for nine months after ephedrine was found in her system in 2006. She had been in the women’s 4 x 400 relay squad at the London Olympics but did not compete for Jamaica, which took a bronze medal.

Another Jamaican athlete, the 800m runner Ricardo Cunningham, who tested positive for the prohibited substance pseudoephedrine, also at last year’s Olympic trials, escaped with only a reprimand.

After the five athletes were banned in 2011 following a meeting in the Bahamas, head coach David Riley claimed the nation was being unfairly targeted because of the outstanding performances of Bolt and others.

“The continuous drugs testing of our athletes is very unfortunate,” he said. “They are free to choose who they want to select [to test], but the whole thing did not look to be random, because our athletes were targeted.

“We are not afraid of drug-testing because we do drug-testing in Jamaica and the process is to find dishonest individuals. But we should do so randomly and not target a country or certain individuals.”

The Jamaican government recently substantially increased the budget for drug-testing conducted by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission in and out of competition, and for public-education programmes. Wada who in the past have expressed concern about the performances of Kenyan athletes, have so far given no indication that Jamaica as a country is being targeted. But after the latest revelations there is no doubt that the heat will be turned up on the island in the sun.

Busted Athletes

Veronica Campbell-Brown used to train with Steve Mullings. The Jamaican sprinter  tested positive for excessive testosterone in 2004 and for a masking agent in 2011. He was given a lifetime ban that was upheld in March this year.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Professional Services Firm - Oxford

£21000 - £24000 per annum + 21 days holidays: Ashdown Group: Technical Support...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor