Jamaica’s athletes, including sprint star Usain Bolt, could be banned from major events like the Olympics due to the island’s handling of recent drug scandals, according to Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph.
World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey, in an interview with the paper, accused Jamaica of “farcical” behaviour in its attempts to defer an extraordinary audit of its anti-doping programme until next year.
This followed an invitation to WADA by Jamaica’s prime minister to investigate revelations from the former executive director of the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) that it conducted no drug tests in the five months leading up to last year’s London Olympics.
To suggest to WADA they're not ready to meet with us to talk about their problem until sometime next year is unsatisfactory, it's totally unacceptable to me
But JADCO’s suggestion that they would talk to WADA next year infuriated anti-doping chiefs.
If Jamaica is deemed to be non-compliant with the WADA code, their athletes could be banned from major competitions until the situation is resolved even though the likes of multiple Olympic champion Bolt have never failed a drugs test.
“The current position is unacceptable to WADA and we’re not going to take it lying down, their suggestion that they’ll talk to us next year,” said Fahey.
“To suggest to WADA they’re not ready to meet with us to talk about their problem until sometime next year is unsatisfactory, it’s totally unacceptable to me and we shall act appropriately within an appropriate time frame.”
Asked if Jamaica would be declared ‘non-compliant’, Fahey replied: “There are a number of options.
“You can read into that exactly what those words are likely to mean but I don’t want to flag it up,” added Fahey, a former premier of the Australian state of New South Wales, whose mandatory maximum six-year term as WADA president ends this year.
WADA said in August it was standing by to help Jamaica resolve their problems in the wake of the doping scandal involving former 100m world record-holder Asafa Powell.
The global anti-doping agency had then called for urgent action on the concerns raised by former Jamaica anti-doping chief Renee Anne Shirley over flaws in the country’s drug testing programme.
JADCO chairman Herb Elliott responded to Shirley’s revelations by labelling her a “Judas” and a “bit demented”.
He insisted Jamaica’s drug-testing procedures were in line with international standards and said of the proposed WADA inspection: “The last time they were here, they claimed everything was OK. So I don’t see how they’re going to say anything is different this time.”